Thousands evacuated in Philippines as 4th typhoon in month hits, spins toward

The Associated Press ~ staff The News
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MANILA, Philippines - The fourth typhoon to lash the Philippines in a month brought pounding rain and winds to the eastern coast Saturday as it barreled toward Manila along the same path as an earlier storm that left the capital still partially submerged.
Thousands were evacuated from their homes in the eastern province of Quezon, where Typhoon Mirinae made landfall after midnight, as rains threatened to unleash mudslides. There were no immediate reports of damage by daybreak Saturday
In Manila, residents hunkered down in their homes overnight as rains beat down on dark, deserted streets. The typhoon was expected to pass south of the sprawling city of 12 million later Saturday with winds of 93 miles (150 kilometres) per hour and gusts of up to 115 mph (185 kph), said chief government forecaster Nathaniel Cruz.
Mirinae was tracking the same route as Tropical Storm Ketsana on Sept. 26 when it dumped the heaviest rains in 40 years in and around Manila - a month's worth in just 12 hours - leaving hundreds dead and thousands stranded in cars, on rooftops and in trees.
Forecaster Rommel Yutuc said the storm slammed ashore near Infanta town in Quezon hours before dawn Saturday.
Strong winds toppled trees and power poles, slowing traffic on some highways, radio stations reported. Manila electric power distributor Meralco said the winds had forced outages in many areas around the capital and nearby areas.
Unlike Ketsana, the latest typhoon was moving fast at 15 mph (24 kph) and was projected to move over the country and then away from the Philippines in the direction of Vietnam by later Saturday.
At least 10,000 villagers left their homes near rivers and close to the Mayon volcano in Albay province, said Jukes Nunez, a provincial disaster official. More evacuees were expected overnight at shelters, he added.
Mayon, in the eastern Philippines, is the country's most active volcano and authorities fear that rains might unleash rivers of mud and loose volcanic rock.
In Arenda village, where knee-deep waters still lingered a month after Ketsana hit, Hilaria Abiam was getting ready to leave at a moment's notice from her house along the shore of Laguna Lake, southeast of Manila.
"If the floodwater threatens to rise again, then I will surely evacuate because I am really frightened," she said.
Another resident, Loida Vicente, prepared a boat at her home.
"I have a lot of children and if the water rises suddenly, then we will use that to evacuate," she said.
The government's disaster agency told people to prepare 72-hour survival kits, including food items like rice plus a radio set, flashlights and batteries, clothing and first aid supplies.
With the weather still clear Friday afternoon, millions of Filipinos boarded buses heading to home provinces for this weekend's All Saints Day, when people visit cemeteries to pay respects to dead relatives in this devoutly Roman Catholic nation.
Defence Secretary Gilbert Teodoro expressed fear that floods and traffic congestion may trap visitors at graveyards, where people traditionally spend a day or even a night, but few heeded his call to scrap their commemorations.
The northern Philippines is still struggling to recover from back-to-back storms that killed 929.
In some provinces, floodwaters raged through cemeteries, breaking up tombs and sweeping away caskets and bodies.
About 122,000 people remain in government-run evacuation centres, and many communities in Manila suburbs are still under water, with residents moving around on makeshift rafts and foot bridges.

Geographic location: MANILA, Philippines, Quezon Vietnam Albay Northern Philippines

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