Typhoon Hagupit pummels Philippines, threatens flooding, landslides – CNN
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Legazpi, Philippines (CNN) — As Typhoon Hagupit pounds the Philippines with torrential rain, it’s threatening the country with a barrage of new dangers: huge storm surge, intense flooding and landslides.
A day after it made landfall near Legazpi, the massive cyclone crept across the country at a sluggish pace — about 15 kilometers per hour (9.3 miles per hour).
With such little movement, Hagupit has more time to dump relentless rainfall over the same areas, raising the potential for landslides.
With memories of last year’s devastating super typhoon fresh in their minds, more than 600,000 people had evacuated by Saturday, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council. About 40 million people are in the path of the storm’s winds.
Residents packed shelters as high winds and driving rain battered the city. One of the city’s major fears is a storm surge that could reach 2-4 meters (6.5 to 13 feet).
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CNN meteorologist Derek Van Dam said that the storm is breaking up over the land mass of the Philippines, but will continue to pour heavy rain. He said 395 mm (15.5 inches) of rain were reported in Bororgan in 24 hours.
Gen. Gregorio Catapang, chief of staff of armed forces, said Sunday that soldiers were working to clear roads and airports so that emergency services could be delivered.
Eleven nations had offered assistance, including Australia, the United States, China, Japan and the United Kingdom.
Weakening before Manila
Hagupit should be significantly weaker by the time it reaches the capital city of Manila, but winds will still be higher than 100 kph (60 mph). The biggest threat in the capital will come from the heavy rainfall.
That will lead to flash flooding and mudslides, even in places far away from the storm’s center.
Despite the threats of danger, some residents in Legazpi ignored evacuation orders and vowed to stay in their makeshift beachside homes.
“I think we can handle the situation,” one man said. “If or when it gets worse, we’ll go to the evacuation center.”
A woman who lives at the coast was also defiant. “We’ve been here 25 years and seen many typhoons,” she said. “This one already feels stronger than Typhoon Haiyan (last year), but we won’t leave yet.”
Tacloban dodges bullet
One city farther south breathed a sigh of relief on Sunday.
In Tacloban, the streets were empty because residents had already evacuated. Last year, super typhoon Haiyan devastated Tacloban, killing more than 6,000 people and leaving 200,000 people homeless.
At least 100,000 people evacuated the city before Hagupit, the U.N. humanitarian agency OCHA Philippines said. That’s half the population of Tacloban.
Mayor Alfred Romualdez told CNN the city is without power but he’s seen only minor damage such as broken windows and downed trees. Many roads were flooded, but not impassable.
And there’s one bit of good news so far for the country: As of midday Sunday, no casualties had been reported.
“There was a lot of preparation,” OCHA spokeswoman Orla Fagan said.
“I think that the lessons learned were very hard ones in Tacloban … because there were so many lives lost, and I think they’ve really taken cognizance this time and really made an all-out effort everywhere to bring people to safety.”
Saima Mohsin reported from Legazpi, Philippines; Holly Yan reported and wrote from Atlanta. CNN’s Ralph Ellis, Melissa Gray, Madison Park and Brandon Miller contributed to this report.