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Philippines powerful typhoon prompts mass evacuation

Nearly 750,000 people have been evacuated in three provinces in the central Philippines as a powerful typhoon has struck the country.

The evacuation took place on Monday when Melor with winds of up to 150 kph (95 mph) made landfall, bringing heavy rain that could cause flooding, landslides and storm surges.

The typhoon slammed into the village of Batag on the northern tip of Samar Island, cancelling about 40 domestic flights and causing 73 ferries and hundreds of fishing boats to remain in port.

The storm is expected to make a second landfall later on Monday near Sorsogon Province, which is located about 385 km (240 miles) southeast of the capital, Manila, on the densely populated island of Luzon. Before that, it will roll across nearby islands.

Authorities in the Asian country have temporarily shut schools and some offices.

“Melor is a very compact typhoon, so that will prevent its most devastating impacts from extending too far from its center,” said AccuWeather meteorologist Adam Douty, warning that it still might kill people and damage property.

Alexander Pama, executive director of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, also said that Melor could cause flooding and landslides and create storm surges of up to 4 meters (13 feet) while disrupting power and communications.

This comes as the government has issued a public storm alert for about 20 provinces due to strong winds and torrential rains of up to 300 mm (12 inches) within a 300 km (185 miles) radius.

The Philippines witnesses an average of 20 storms every year, with many of them deadly and destructive.

This photo taken on November 1, 2015 shows workers carrying a newly-made wooden boat, one of several to be distributed among fishermen who lost their fishing boats at the height of typhoon Haiyan at a coastal village in Tacloban City, Leyte province, central Philippines. (AFP photo)

Super Typhoon Haiyan has so far been the deadliest and strongest as it demolished entire towns in the central islands in November 2013. More than 7,350 people were left dead or missing due to the storm.

The Asian country was battered by Typhoon Koppu in October. It killed over 50 people and forced tens of thousands of others to escape their homes in the northern part of the country.

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