Typhoon Sarika: Thousands evacuated after 'very powerful' storm hits Philippines

The storm battered the island with torrential rain and strong winds, evacuating thousands.

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Typhoon Sarika heavily bore down on Luzon, the main Philippine island, on Sunday dawn, forcing more than 12,000 people to evacuate and move to safer ground.

The storm battered the island with torrential rain and strong winds, ripping off roofs and knocking out telephone lines and power lines, said the officials.

AFP reported that Mina Marasigan, spokeswoman for the government's National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said, "The roofs of some house were blown away and power was cut in some areas."

"Minor landslides were also reported as well as floods. We're waiting for the typhoon to blow over to conduct a fuller assessment," she added.

However, Sarika weakened since making landfall on the east coast town of Baler.

According to Channel News Asia, Sarika was gathering strength while spinning over the western Pacific ocean and the gust speed is forecasted to go up to 180 kilometres (112 miles) per hour. The government weather forecaster Benison Estareja reported that while this storm is not the most powerful one to hit the country in 2016, but it could be the most devastating one as it is expected to cross heavily-populated areas just north of Manila.

"We can see from the radar that the storm is very destructive. It can destroy wooden houses, it can topple trees. It can possibly rip off roofs," he told AFP.

"This could so far, be the most damaging typhoon this year," he added.

Estareja also forecasted that Sarika will hit the province of Aurora on the east coast of the main island of Luzon before Sunday dawn and will pummel the central Luzon before heading out to sea by the evening.