Typhoon Hagupit has made landfall on the eastern Philippines, hitting the region with strong winds and rain, knocking down trees, causing power outages and forcing an estimated 1 million residents on the coast to flee.
The storm, which is expected to hover over the nation for the new few days, is packing winds up to 130 mph. The eye of Hagupit hit the town of Dolores in Eastern Samar, a region still struggling to recovery from Typhoon Haiyan last year, at about 9:15 pm local time (8:15 am EST), according to NBC News.
[quote text_size=”small” author=”– Mabel Evardone” author_title=”Official of coastal town Sulat in Samar”]
The wind is blowing so strongly, it’s like it is whirling. The waters have risen now.
The storm has weakened to a category 3 level, which is below the super typhoon status it had yesterday, residents are still preparing for landslides, major floodingand storm surges of up to 15 feet, according to the Guardian. Storm surges up to 17 feet were blamed for over 90% of the deaths and injuries from Typhoon Haiyan last year.
More than 500,000 people fled to shelters ahead of the typhoon making landfall. As the storm arrived, power supplies were cut throughout the central island of Samar and Leyte province, including Tacloban City. The region was considered ground zero for the super typhoon Haiyan that killed 7,350 people and was the world’s deadliest natural disaster last year.
Maps produced by Philippine meteorologists suggest the worst of the storm will pass to the north of Tacloban. Many people in the region are still living in temporary shelters, and emergency shelters have not been fully rebuilt since last year. Relief agency Refugees International said it was concerned that evacuation centers in the Philippines may not be safe.
There is great concern about damage the typhoon will cause if it passes near Manila, the capital of the Philippines, with a metropolitan population of nearly 12 million. The United States Joint Typhoon Warning Center forecasts the storm will pass close to the capital.
The army has been deployed to major roads and stores in the path of the typhoon in an attempt to prevent the looting and violence that occurred after last year’s typhoon, according to the New York Times.