Around a million people are forced from their homes as a deadly storm packing winds of 105kph batters the country.
More communities in the Philippines are being evacuated as Typhoon Hagupit moves across the country, causing flooding and power cuts, but relatively minor casualties. At least 21 people have been killed and around a million people fled their homes fearing another disaster on the scale of Typhoon Haiyan the year before. More than 7,000 died in the biggest typhoon ever recorded on land, but the latest storm weakened as it closed in on the Philippines. The driving wind and rain will cause problems for several days as the slow moving storm makes its way across the country, now travelling at only 6mph (10kph). In Batangas City, a normally busy port south of the capital Manila, hundreds of trucks are parked up at the side of the road because it is too dangerous for ferries to operate. The authorities in the city have opened 14 shelters to look after some of its poorest residents who live in shanty towns close to the sea. The chief emergency coordinator, Superintendent Romel Tradio, told Sky News: “These families were situated in the so-called high-risk areas – low-lying areas. “We have to evacuate them in anticipation of storm surge and flash floods. We are very happy that these people were very cooperative.” People are used to emergency evacuations during typhoons but are ever more willing to comply this year after seeing what happened in last year’s catastrophe. The current forecast path means Batangas may take the full force of storm, but the estimated wind speeds have now been scaled down to 105kph (65mph). City engineer Adela Hernandez monitored CCTV images from around the city, and kept track of the storm on satellite images. She said: “Because of the storm last year, the people of Batangas City are very much aware.” More than 2,500 people are currently being looked after. At one such shelter in a school, 120 families have taken refuge. Some have brought their own food to cook on open fires in the playground, while others are reliant on handouts from the council. Local councillor Nerma Bustos said: “We are very much prepared because we are always doing this every time there is a typhoon. “People living in the coastal areas are always coming here in our elementary school so we can cater for them and give them shelter and food. “They come here for safety reasons. They don’t have their own homes, they are living in shanties. Here they are safe.”