Nock-Ten red alert: Thousands in Philippines flee typhoon, ferry and flight services stopped

Authorities say Nock-Ten will affect an area populated by nearly 42 million people, including the capital Manila.

Super Typhoon Haima causes destruction as it slams into northern Philippines (PHOTOS)
Government workers cut branches of an uprooted tree along a road after Typhoon Haima struck Laoag city, Ilocos Norte in northern Philippines Reuters (Representational Image)

Thousands of residents were seen fleeing from hazardous areas in the eastern Philippines on Sunday after the authorities issued red alert as typhoon Nock-Ten barrelled towards the disaster-prone archipelago.

The weather officials warned 2.5-m high waves and landslides posed the biggest threats as Nock-Ten, named after a bird found in Laos closed in on the Bicol peninsula and nearby islands.

"We went around with megaphones and gave instructions to our people to eat breakfast, pack and board the military trucks," Alberto Lindo, an official of Alcala, a farming village of 3,300 people near the active Mayon volcano, told AFP.

"There are large ash deposits on the slopes. Heavy rain can dislodge them and bury our homes in mud," he added.

The Philippine and international weather services said the typhoon was set to hit Bicol on Sunday before reaching the rest of the main island of Luzon along with Manila on Monday.

According to the US Joint Typhoon Warning Center said the typhoon would sustain winds of 231 kph and gusts of 278 kph, causing landfall. Initially, the typhoon was expected to pack winds of 222kmph and cause landfall Catanduanes,

Reports said Nock-Ten will affect an area populated by nearly 42 million people, including the capital Manila.

On Friday, the government called for preemptive evacuations as a preacautionary step ahead of the typhoon. According to an official tally, nearly 4,000 residents were moving into emergency centres and more than 8,000 others were seeking shelter elsewhere.

The evacuation process was seen to be continued early on Christmas day as well. The military and local governments sent trucks to coastal communities and other areas that have been earlier hit by landslides or flash floods in typhoons.

Typhoon Nock-Ten has prevented thousands of people from returning to their hometowns for the Christmas weekend as it suspended all ferry services and some commercial flights.

On Sunday, the coastguard ordered the beaches south of Manila to be cleared of holidaymakers by Monday.

"All forms of recreational activity (on the coasts) will be banned," coastguard spokesman Armando Balilo told local broadcaster ABS-CBN television.

The seaside slums in Manila have also been warned to leave their homes.

Every year, the Philippines is struck by an average of 20 storms and typhoons that routinely kills hundreds of people. In November 2013, Philippines witnessed one of the most powerful and deadliest typhoons named Haiyan that left more than 7,350 people dead or missing.