Thousands Evacuated in Philippines As Typhoon Kammuri Nears

Cebu Air and Philippine Airlines suspended some domestic flights and schools are shut in several provinces and parts of Metro Manila

Cebu Air and Philippine Airlines suspended some domestic flights and schools are shut in several provinces and parts of Metro Manila

Typhoon Kammuri has lashed the Philippines, forcing the evacuation of tens of thousands of residents and the closure of Manila's worldwide airport as a safety precaution.

The typhoon is packing maximum wind speeds of 175 kilometers per hour (108 miles per hour) and gusts of up to 240 kilometers per hour (149 miles per hour), PAGASA reported, and will continue to bring violent winds and intense rainfall as it tears through the country.

Almost 70,000 people have already fled their homes in the Bicol region in the east of the country.

The Philippines is now hosting thousands of athletes from the region for the Southeast Asia Games which are set to run through December 11.

Some 200,000 residents have been evacuated from coastal and mountainous areas over fears of flooding, storm surges and landslides. The 20th storm to enter the Philippines this year is following a track similar to typhoon Rammasun in July 2014, which killed 106 people in the southeast Asian country and damaged properties worth 38.6 billion pesos (23 billion baht).

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The country's deadliest cyclone on record was Super Typhoon Haiyan, which left more than 7,300 people dead or missing in 2013.

There was no talk of cancelling the Games as the storm headed for a swathe of the nation's north that includes key competition hubs as well as thousands of athletes, and had already impacted scheduling. Windsurfing was halted as a precaution and triathlon events were held earlier than scheduled, an official said at the weekend.

"The proper timing of when to postpone them (events) is decided by the technical delegate or the one that is in charge of the sport", said Celso Dayrit, SEA Games Executive Committee Chairman. Organizers have said contingency plans are in place should the event face disruption.

This year's Games in Clark, Manila and Subic are already particularly complex, with a record 56 sports across dozens of venues that are in some cases hours apart by auto.

Around 8,750 athletes and team officials are expected at this year's 30th edition of the SEA Games along with another 12,000 volunteers. Organisers hope more than 500 million viewers will tune in on TV.

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