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Half A Million Flee As Typhoon Hagupit Prepares To Strike Philippines

About half a million Filipinos have fled their homes across a stretch of the Philippines as the island nation braces for a powerful typhoon.

About 50 provinces, which cover more than 50% of the nation, could be at risk from Typhoon Hagupit. This includes many regions that were hit hard by the deadly Typhoon Haiyan last year. Haiyan left over 7,300 people dead or missing, displaced 4 million people and destroyed nearly one million homes in the country.

Hagupit is expected to make landfall late Saturday, most likely on the eastern island of Samar, but forecasters differ on where the typhoon will go next. While the state weather agency predicts the typhoon will move across the central islands, the U.S. military’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center says the typhoon will likely move north and may hit the outskirts of Manila, the capital, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Officials have warned residents that the typhoon can bring dangerous winds, storm surges and rains. On Friday, gusts of 143 mph were clocked.

Tens of thousands of families are still living in tents and flimsy shelters along coasts that were badly damaged in the storm last year. The Department of Social Welfare and Development has estimated that a minimum of half a million people have now fled their homes, and many more are planned to be moved.

Refugees International, a United States advocacy group, has expressed concern that the evacuation shelters were millions are attempting to wait out the storm are not safe.

[quote text_size=”small” author=”– Refugees International”]

A damage assessment of designated evacuation centers in typhoon-affected areas indicated that in some places — such as Eastern Samar, where Hagupit is headed — less than 10%… were likely to withstand future typhoons.


AccuWeather reported that over 30 million people will be impacted by Typhoon Hagupit, which is now the world’s strongest storm of 2014. While the storm had weakened on Friday, it restrengthened back to super typhoon status, according to USA Today.

Thousands of people have been left stranded as Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines cancelled over 150 flights to the nation this weekend. Sea travel services have also been suspended. Meteorologists say there is a small chance Hagupit will bypass the Philippines and move toward Japan, although this is unlikely.

The Philippines gives its own names to typhoons that move into its waters instead of using the international storm-naming system. Typhoon Hagupit has been given the name Ruby. Typhoon Haiyan is known as Yolanda in the island nation, according to the BBC.

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