UPDATE 1-Philippines evacuates 100,000 as typhoon Nesat nears

Mon Sep 26, 2011 10:29am GMT
 

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MANILA, Sept 26 (Reuters) - The Philippines ordered the evacuation of more than 100,000 people in flood and landslide-prone parts of the main island of Luzon as Typhoon Nesat gathered speed and strength ahead of its expected landfall early on Tuesday.

Six fishermen were reported missing on Monday, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said, adding about 50,000 people are now in temporary shelters in the central Albay province.

Nesat was expected to hit the rice- and corn-growing provinces of Aurora and Isabela in the north on Tuesday, crossing mountain regions before exiting via the northwestern Ilocos provinces, weather forecaster Robert Sawi told reporters.

Packing winds of 130 kph (80 mph) with gusts of up to 160 kph, Nesat was 260 km (161 miles) east by southeast of Casiguran town in northern Aurora province, moving west by northwest at 19 kph.

Flights to the central region were suspended, and schools in the capital Manila closed in the afternoon in response to heavy rains and strong winds brought by Nesat, which is expected to intensify to a category 3 typhoon with winds of around 200 kmh (125 mph)

The disaster agency said hundreds of motorists and ferry passengers were stranded in ports, while soldiers and rescue workers were put on alert to help move residents to safety from areas at risk of flood and landslide.

Nesat, known locally as Pedring, could cause landslides, flash floods and storm surges in coastal areas, Sawi said.

"We've raised the typhoon alerts due to strong winds and rain that could uproot trees and topple communications and power lines," he said.

Graciano Yumul, head of the weather bureau, said 25 ml per hour of rainfall was expected, less than half the amount dumped in 2009 by Ketsana, which submerged large parts of the capital and killed hundreds. (Reporting By Manny Mogato; Editing by John Mair and Sanjeev Miglani)

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