Typhoon Kammuri slams into Philippines, forcing thousands to flee

Clay Curtis
December 3, 2019

Metro Manila and more than a hundred other areas in Luzon and Visayas are under signal 2.

Forecasters said Kammuri remained strong, with sustained winds of up to 155 kilometres (95 miles) per hour, and maximum gusts of 235 kph as it tracked northwest.

Almost 70,000 people have already fled their homes in the Bicol region, which is where the typhoon is expected to strike first.

Kammuri had already snarled some plans for the SEA Games, which opened Saturday and are set to run through December 11 in and around Manila.

About 20 typhoons and storms batter the Philippines each year.

As of Monday, windsurfing was halted as a precaution and triathlon and duathlon events were held earlier than scheduled.

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The Palace also urged the public to stay vigilant and to coordinate with their local government units for preparations.

Dozens of flights have been cancelled or diverted and schools in affected provinces were closed, the AP news agency reports.

Officials warned of storm surges of up to 3 meters (nearly 10 feet), prompting the early evacuations of almost 90,000 villagers from coastal communities and low-lying areas prone to flash floods and landslides, according to the Office of Civil Defense. No mandatory evacuation has been ordered yet, the disaster management office said. Heavy rains and winds due to the typhoon are expected to be felt in the capital starting Tuesday morning, prompting class suspensions. The Philippines, which last hosted the Games in 2005, is aiming to win the most medals, and history is on their side: seven of the last 11 SEA Games hosts have topped the table, reflecting the tradition of rewriting the sporting program to suit local strengths.

Around 8,750 athletes and team officials are expected at this year's 30th edition - the biggest ever - along with another 12,000 volunteers.

A glitzy dancesport competition in Clark on Sunday saw the Philippines pick up 10 golds. Organizers hope more than 500 million viewers will tune in on TV.

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