Philippines evacuates thousands in south as Storm Dujuan approaches

   The storm was 320km east of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur and has started moving northwestward at 15kmh.
The storm was 320km east of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur and has started moving northwestward at 15kmh.PHOTO: GOV. AYEC T. PIMENTEL/FACEBOOK

MANILA (REUTERS, BLOOMBERG) - More than 5,000 people have fled to temporary shelters in southern Philippines as tropical storm Dujuan brought heavy rains, submerging dozens of villages, the country’s disaster monitoring agency said on Sunday (Feb 21). 

Two regions were hit, including the country’s nickel mining hub of Caraga, with floods damaging some houses and bridges in the province of Surigao del Sur, according to the agency’s initial report. 

The bad weather also prompted the cancellation of at least 36 domestic flights.

Philippine authorities evacuated tens of thousands of people in the south of the country earlier as the storm approached.

About 51,400 people were moved to 331 evacuation centres in the provinces of Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Agusan del Norte, Dinagat Islands and Butuan City, the disaster risk reduction and management agency said.

The first storm to hit the Philippines this year maintained its maximum sustained winds of 65kmh and gusts of up to 80kmh, the state weather bureau said in its 2pm report.

Dujuan, locally known as Auring, is forecast to make landfall on the Dinagat Islands-Eastern Samar-Leyte area, about 600km to 700km south of Manila, between Sunday evening and Monday morning.

The storm was 320km east of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur and started moving northwestward at 15kmh.

An average of 20 typhoons pass through the Philippines every year, in most cases forcing the evacuation of thousands of people.