Half a million people evacuated from path of Typhoon in Philippines

More than half a million people in the Philippines have fled from a powerful typhoon in one of the world’s biggest peacetime evacuations as the storm churns towards central provinces that still bear the scars of super typhoon Haiyan 13 months ago. Typhoon Hagupit was approaching eastern coasts on Saturday with its eye 230 km east northeast of Borongan, in Eastern Samar province, the weather bureau PAGASA said. More than 616,000 residents of low-lying villages and landslide-prone areas have fled to schools, civic centres, town halls, gyms and churches, the national disaster agency said.

Typhoon Hagupit is triggering one of the largest evacuations we have ever seen in peacetime.

United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction spokesman Denis McClean

The storm was downgraded to a notch below super typhoon category but could still unleash huge destruction with torrential rain and potentially disastrous storm surges of up to 4.5 metres. With winds of up to 195 km/h near the centre and gusts of up to 215 km/h, the storm was moving slowly at 10 km/h and was expected to hit Eastern or Northern Samar province early on Sunday.