Manila, Oct 20: Tens of thousands of people are fleeing their homes to avoid the super typhoon Haima, which struck the coast of the Philippines on Wednesday.
Winds of about 250 km per hour lashed at the province of Cagayan, and are moving in a south-westerly direction. At the moment there are no confirmed casualties, but it is feared that the toll will soon rise due to the power of the storm. About 10 million people are at risk, agencies report.
At night hundreds of homes were washed away and the power supply was cut. Villamor Visaya, an Ilagan university professor says: “I saw a school building crumpled under a big tree ... as if the building had been uprooted from its foundations.” Rice fields and corn, are destroyed as far as the eye can see”, he said.
Haima is the second typhoon to hit the Philippines in a week, the 12th since the beginning of the year. It is expected that in the coming days it will cross the South China Sea reaching Hong Kong and Southern China.
Due to the floods, many people have taken refuge on the roofs of the houses, but rescue teams were not able to intervene because of the bad weather conditions. President Rodrigo Duterte, currently visiting Beijing, says that the authorities have done everything possible to prepare for the emergency: “Let us pray - he added - to be spared from destruction like the other times, which led to suffering agony”.
Some experts say that Haima could proves destructive as Haiyan (called Yolanda by Filipinos) which in 2013 hit the central provinces of the country causing over 7300 dead or missing and serious damage to homes and agriculture.