Storm-hit Philippine region braces for another destructive typhoon


The Philippines raised storm warning levels on Monday and began evacuating some coastal communities in the path of a typhoon that threatened storm surges, landslides and floods triggered by heavy winds and rain.

Yutu, locally named Rosita, is the 18th typhoon to hit the Philippines this year.

About half of the Philippines' 105 million population live in the Luzon region.

Typhoon Yutu weakened considerably from its earlier super typhoon status before slamming into the northeastern Isabela province of the Philippines before dawn. The mountainous Cordillera region was put on red alert for landslides.

On Monday afternoon, the typhoon was about 300 km east of Luzon, home to about 53 million people, and had weakened to a Category 2 storm with sustained wind speeds of 150 kilometres per hour, with gusts of 185kmh, from 170kmh recorded a few hours earlier.

That was less intense than four days ago, when as a super typhoon with wind speeds of over 270 kph barreled through the Marianas, a U.S. Western Pacific archipelago of 52,000 people, tearing off roofs, overturning vehicles and cutting off power and water.

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Mangkhut left more than 100 people dead and missing mostly in Itogon and nearby mountain towns and caused considerable damage to vegetable, corn and rice farms because the typhoon struck during the harvest season.

Classes were suspended in at least five provinces and fishermen in Luzon and the eastern seaboard advised not to go to sea.

Weather officials said it was likely two more typhoons could cut across the Philippines before the year ends.

Tropical cyclone warning signals were lowered in Luzon as "Rosita", internationally known as "Yutu", moved out of landmass on Tuesday night, according to the bulletin issued at 11:00 the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Administration (Pagasa).

All boat services in the port city of Batangas, about 83km south of Manila, were suspended on Monday. It was the strongest to hit the islands in 50 years and killed a woman and wounded more than 130.