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Philippines on High Alert as Supertyphoon Approaches From the East

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The Philippines on Wednesday warned its citizens and visiting tourists to be prepared for a high-intensity supertyphoon that looks set to hit within the next three days, with troops placed on standby and supplies of food and medicines readied as a precaution.

The typhoon, christened Maysak, is currently hovering over the Pacific Ocean with winds up to 155 m.p.h., Reuters reported. The Category 5 storm, the highest possible rating, is expected to make landfall on the Southeast Asian country’s east coast.

On Wednesday, the Micronesian state of Chuuk declared a state of emergency after Maysak reportedly claimed at least five lives and caused extensive damage as it tore across the central Pacific.

Experts do anticipate that Maysak will reduce in intensity to around Category 2 once it hits the Philippines, though, with British agency Tropical Storm Risk expecting winds to reduce to 110 m.p.h.

“But this will still be typhoon intensity so it will bring strong winds when it makes landfall on the eastern coast,” Esperanza Cayanan, an officer at the Philippines’ weather bureau, said in a televised briefing.

Although the typhoon could damage crops in the country’s central and northern regions, the damage is likely to be minimal thanks to the conclusion of a major rice harvest in February.

The biggest challenge for authorities will be ensuring the safety of Filipinos and foreigners celebrating the long Easter weekend, the national disaster agency’s executive director Alexander Pama explained.

“Because of our holiday mode, some of us may not give proper attention to the warnings,” Pama said.


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Write to Rishi Iyengar at rishi.iyengar@timeasia.com