Typhoon Hagupit hits Philippines, no immediate reports of casulaties

World Today

Filipino children sleep as families seek refuge at a school used as an evacuation center as they prepare for Typhoon Hagupit in Legazpi, Albay province, eastern Philippines, Saturday. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

LEGAZPI, Philippines — Typhoon Hagupit slammed into the central Philippines’ east coast late Saturday, knocking out power and toppling trees in a region where 650,000 people have fled to safety, still haunted by the massive death and destruction wrought by a monster storm last year.

Packing maximum sustained winds of 175 kilometers (109 miles) per hour and gusts of 210 kph (130 mph), Hagupit made landfall in Dolores, a coastal town facing the Pacific in Eastern Samar province, according to the Philippines’ weather agency. There were no immediate reports of casualties.

Although it was unlikely to reach the unprecedented strength of Typhoon Haiyan, Hagupit’s strong winds and heavy rain were enough to possibly cause major damage to an impoverished region still reeling from the devastating November 2013 storm, which left more than 7,300 people dead or missing.

Typhoon Hagupit hits Philippines, no immediate reports of casulaties

Typhoon Hagupit slammed into the central Philippines' east coast late Saturday, knocking out power and toppling trees in a region where 650,000 people have fled to safety, still haunted by the massive death and destruction wrought by a monster storm last year

CCTV America reporter Barnaby Lo is covering the typhoon in the Philippines:

“There are many trees that have toppled, some of them on the highway,” police Senior Inspector Alex Robin said by phone late Saturday from Dolores, hours before Hagupit made landfall. “We are totally in the dark here. The only light comes from flashlights.”

From Eastern Samar, Hagupit — Filipino for “smash” or “lash” — was expected to hammer parts of a string of island provinces that was devastated by Haiyan’s tsunami-like storm surges and ferocious winds. Hagupit weakened slightly on Saturday, but remained dangerously powerful and erratic.

Robin said about 600 families had hunkered down in Dolores’ three-story municipal hall, one of many emergency shelters in the town.

“Everyone here is just looking for a place to sleep,” he said. “All the windows are closed, but it is still cool because of the wind and the rain.”

Eastern Samar province Rep. Ben Evardone said electricity also was knocked out early Saturday in Borongan city, about 70 kilometers (43 miles) south of Dolores, where the government has set up a command center for rescue and relief operations headed by Interior Secretary Mar Roxas.

Google Crisis Map for Typhoon Hagupit in the Philippines
Zoom in to see shelters and crisis centers 

Story compiled from CCTV America and AP reports.