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More than 700,000 evacuated as Typhoon Melor reaches Philippines

By
Andrew V. Pestano
More than 700,000 people have been evacuated in the Philippines as Typhoon Melor reached strong sustained winds up to 130 miles per hour on Monday. About 40 domestic flights have been canceled and many schools have been closed. Image courtesy of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration
More than 700,000 people have been evacuated in the Philippines as Typhoon Melor reached strong sustained winds up to 130 miles per hour on Monday. About 40 domestic flights have been canceled and many schools have been closed. Image courtesy of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration

MANILA, Dec. 14 (UPI) -- More than 700,000 people were evacuated in the Philippines on Monday as Typhoon Melor reached sustained winds up to 130 mph.

The fierce storm, known locally as Nona, is bearing down on coastal areas with heavy winds and rain. Melor intensified rapidly over the weekend as it moved toward the eastern island of Samar, CNN reported.

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The Philippine archipelago is under the threat of torrential rainfall, particularly in the densely populated region around Manila, the capital. About 725,000 people have been pre-emptively evacuated, the Philippine national disaster management agency said.

About 40 domestic flights have been canceled and many schools have been closed.

Richard Gordon, the chairman of the Red Cross in the Philippines, told BBC News strong winds and storm surges were the biggest threats.

"What is really terrifying are the strong winds," Gordon said. "Roofs are beginning to pin off houses, even our office in northern Samar the roof has slightly been unhinged. So I expect a lot of damage in terms of housing."

The Philippines is often the victim of deadly typhoons. In November 2013, Super Typhoon Haiyan, one of the most powerful storms ever to make landfall, killed or left missing more than 7,000 people.

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