Around 24,000 people from the Philippines were being evacuated Saturday with Typhoon Maysak a day away from potentially striking the country’s northeast coast, officials said. Storm surges, flash floods and landslides remained potential threats even though Maysak, once a super-typhoon, has now weakened with maximum sustained winds of 160 kilometres (99 miles) per hour, they said.
“We plan to move people out of coastal villages,” Nigel Lontoc, a senior civil defence official for the region, told AFP. In all, some 24,000 people from the coastal province of Aurora, where the typhoon is projected to make landfall early Sunday, would be evacuated, Lontoc added.
Having started out in the Pacific Ocean, Maysak is expected to weaken further as it crosses the main Philippine island of Luzon Sunday, according to state weather forecaster Alczar Aurelio.
Aurelio said large waves of up to two metres (6.6 feet) are expected to hit the area. Such storm surges caused many of the fatalities when Super Typhoon Haiyan struck the country in November, 2013, leaving more than 7,350 dead or missing.
About 20 typhoons and storms hit the Philippines each year, many of them deadly, but such weather disturbances are rare in April, the height of the tropical Asian nation’s dry season.
Maysak is forecast to strike at the tail-end of a long Easter holiday that saw millions of Filipinos flock to the beaches to escape the heat.