Thousands flee as Typhoon Kammuri churns toward Philippines

Thousands flee as Typhoon Kammuri churns towards Philippines

Thousands flee as Typhoon Kammuri churns towards Philippines

Typhoon Kammuri was forecast to slam into the country's eastern coast Monday night to early Tuesday with maximum sustained winds of 155 kilometers (96 miles) per hour and gusts of up to 190 kph (118 mph), government forecasters said.

It is then forecast to pass close to Manila, which is home to 13million people and is the site for numerous SEA Games events.

The Philippine Airlines advised travelers to check the status of their flights first before proceeding to the airport, in light of typhoon Tisoy which threatens to hit the Bicol Region.

Other suppliers have been instructed to dismantle tents in areas on Tisoy's path, Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) chief operating office Ramon Suzara told reporters.

Officials warned of storm surges of up to 3 meters (nearly 10 feet), prompting the early evacuations of almost 90,000 villagers from coastal communities and low-lying areas prone to flash floods and landslides, according to the Office of Civil Defense.

The 20th storm to enter the Philippines this year is following a track similar to typhoon Rammasun in July 2014, which killed 106 people in the south-east Asian country and damaged properties worth 38.6 billion pesos (S$1.03 billion).

Kammuri is already snarling plans for the SEA Games, which opened Saturday for thousands of athletes from the region and is set to run through December 11 in and around Manila. Windsurfing was halted as a precaution and triathlon events were held earlier than scheduled, an official said at the weekend.

As part of the contingency plan "in place a long time ago", Games organisers have told venues to dismantle temporary structures like tents for officials, security and catering or outdoor branding over fears they could be ripped away by the strong winds.

The storm is the latest trouble for the Games, which saw a series of transport snafus and a rush of last-minute construction ahead of the opening. Organisers hope more than 500 million viewers will tune in on TV by the end of competition on December 11.

A glitzy dancesport competition in Clark on Sunday saw the Philippines pick up 10 golds.

In an eclectic programme, Olympic sports like swimming and athletics sit side-by-side with regional favourites such as martial arts, and this year athletes will even battle an obstacle race course in Manila.

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