Manila Airport Shut as Typhoon Kammuri Hits the Philippines

Manila Airport Shut as Typhoon Kammuri Hits the Philippines

More than 43,000 people have been evacuated and schools in six provinces have suspended classes as the eastern islands of the Philippines were lashed Tuesday by heavy rains from Typhoon Kammuri after it made landfall late Monday.

The storm, packing wind gusts as high as 150 miles per hour, was battering the Philippines on Monday night and into Tuesday, after its eye made landfall near Gubat, a city on Luzon island, the national weather agency said.

Officials ordered the closing of Manila’s main airport for 12 hours starting at 11 a.m. Tuesday, and the Philippine Coast Guard ordered a halt to marine traffic in affected areas.

The typhoon struck the Philippines just after President Rodrigo Duterte, joined by the politician and boxing star Manny Pacquiao, presided over the opening of the Southeast Asian Games, a biennial sports event that draws top athletes from 11 Southeast Asian nations.

The Games are scheduled to run through Dec. 11, and organizers have said that the typhoon may cause the cancellation of outdoor events on the island of Luzon in the country’s north. This year’s Games have been touted as the biggest yet, with more than 8,000 athletes competing and hundreds of millions of television viewers expected to tune in from around the region.

Heavy rains were already pummeling parts of Manila and populous cities nearby, and disaster agencies have stockpiled food and medicine. The authorities have described violent winds and intense rainfall, and have urged caution among residents. They have yet to issue mandatory evacuation orders, saying that all evacuations so far were pre-emptive. Residents were asked to check local weather advisories and government social media accounts as the typhoon continued to move toward the eastern coastlines.

Kammuri, the 20th storm to hit the Philippines this year, was reported to be following the same path as Typhoon Rammasun, which killed more than 100 people in July 2014.

The Philippines is regularly exposed to powerful typhoons. In November 2013, Typhoon Haiyan was one of the most powerful storms to ever make landfall, tearing through the Philippines at record speed. Massive storm surges shredded the central city of Tacloban, washing whole neighborhoods away. Haiyan left more than 7,300 dead in its wake and displaced over 650,000 people.

Jason Gutierrez contributed reporting.

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