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Philippines prepares for season’s first major storm

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Typhoon Haiyan is pictured in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration satellite handout image taken on November 6, 2013.

Thousands of people living in coastal areas of the Philippines are getting ready to evacuate as the first major storm of the rainy season is approaching the country.

According to civil defense authorities, tropical Storm Rammasun is expected to strike eastern Philippines late Tuesday and then bring heavy rain to the capital Manila and other densely populated northern areas.

Officials said that they were taking necessary measures to avoid fatalities, after Super Typhoon Haiyan left over 7,000 people dead or missing in the Philippines last November.

“We are already warning the public to be on alert for possible effects of the weather disturbance: landslides, flash floods, strong rains and winds,” said Alexander Pama, head of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

The disaster council also said it had already warned more than 1,300 villages susceptible to floods or landslides that they are in Ramassun’s direct path and residents should be prepared to shelter in evacuation centers.

The second level of a three-step storm alert has been hoisted over the Bicol archipelago southeast of Manila, while storm alerts have also been raised for over 12 million people in the capital.

Heavy rain is also anticipated to fall over the central islands that were badly hit by Haiyan and where thousands of people are still living in tents or other makeshift evacuation centers.

The new storm could bring 7.5 to 15 millimeters (0.3 to 0.6 inches) of rainfall per hour.

About 20 major storms hit the Philippines every year and Rammasun will be the first to make landfall since the rainy season started last month.


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