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Kaikoura and two other outlying islands battered by strongest typhoon to hit the region in a decade
Powerful typhoon hits the Philippines
One person has died and thousands were left homeless after strong winds and heavy rain hit the Philippines on Friday.
Three outlying islands including Kaikoura, on New Zealand’s South Island, were hit by the strongest typhoon to hit the region in a decade, while Kaikoura’s seaside restaurants and hotels were shut as residents rushed to homes and shelters.
Fishermen were fleeing from the town on the east coast of New Zealand’s South Island as strong winds and heavy rain hammered the area.
Two cargo ships and a large fishing boat were in danger of tipping over in a storm that forecasters said would leave the area with flash floods and landslides.
The storm was slow-moving and expected to hit other parts of the region through Saturday, the US military said.
Officials in northern and central Cagayan province said 2,550 families were forced to evacuate, at least 464 schools and 200 health centres were closed, and three hospitals were hit by heavy rains and high winds.
“A few houses were also damaged,” town mayor Juan Jose Eriberto. The province is about 350km north of the capital, Manila.
In nearby Saipan, US territory in the Pacific, officials said the province’s hospitals and clinics had been evacuated. US Pacific Fleet had received reports of several landslides and “some destructive flooding”.
Some flights were cancelled and the ferry service suspended.
In the Philippines, wind speeds reached 160km/h at its peak, surpassing the 160km/h winds that killed at least 52 people during Super Typhoon Haiyan in 2013.
It was the first typhoon to make landfall in the Philippines this year.
The typhoon, named Pangasinan, was forecast to move westward over the Sulu Sea, reaching land between the northern provinces of Sorsogon and Tawi-Tawi by the early hours of Saturday.
Officials warned of possible floods and landslides as heavy rains pour down on hills and mountains after a few strong typhoons drenched the central region this week.
Gales weakened Pangasinan early on Friday, according to the state weather forecaster, but heavy rains, high winds and potentially dangerous flash floods were still expected.
The typhoon was expected to bring drenching rains for the next three days.
A typhoon hit the South China Sea earlier in the week but caused only minimal damage in Hong Kong and the neighbouring Chinese cities of Zhuhai and Shenzhen.
The Philippines relies on disaster-prone Mindanao island to produce much of its rice and corn. The Philippine National Red Cross and local governments have been struggling to raise funds to put in place prevention programmes and reinforce drainage systems after two devastating storms last year killed hundreds.