Powerful typhoon rips off roofs, floods parts of Philippines

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Heavy rains and moderate wind batter houses in Gamay town, Northern Samar province, central Philippines on December 2, 2019, as Typhoon Kammuri hits the province. (AFP)
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Typhoon Kammuri lashed the Philippines with fierce winds and heavy rain, as hundreds of thousands took refuge in shelters and the capital Manila prepared to shut down its international airport over safety concerns. (AFP)
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A child (C) wades through a flooded road following the passage of Typhoon Kammuri in Legaspi City, Albay province, south of Manila on December 3, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 03 December 2019

Powerful typhoon rips off roofs, floods parts of Philippines

  • Officials warned of storm surges and prolonged heavy rain
  • The Philippines is battered by about 20 typhoons and tropical storms each year and has frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions

MANILA, Philippines: A powerful typhoon was blowing across the Philippines on Tuesday after slamming ashore overnight in an eastern province, damaging houses and an airport and knocking out power after tens of thousands of people fled for safer ground.
Typhoon Kammuri blew into Gubat town in Sorsogon province before midnight then barreled westward through Quezon province Tuesday morning, ripping off roofs, knocking out power and flooding low-lying villages. It had maximum sustained winds of 155 kilometers (96 miles) per hour and gusts of up to 235 kph (146 miles) as it headed toward a cluster of island provinces and coastal regions lying south of Manila.
There were no immediate reports of deaths or injuries.
Kammuri’s pounding rain and wind damaged the airport in Legazpi city in Albay province, collapsing a portion of its ceiling, scattering chairs at the arrival and departure areas and shattering glass panes. Parts of the city were flooded, according to local news reports.
Manila’s international airport was closing during the storm’s peak, expected at midday to afternoon in the capital region, before the typhoon blows out to sea later in the day.
Officials warned of storm surges and prolonged heavy rain. More than 100,000 residents evacuated before the typhoon made landfall, abandoning homes in coastal and low-lying areas prone to flash floods and landslides, the Office of Civil Defense said.
The coast guard suspended sea travel in the northeast, stranding more than 6,000 travelers along with thousands of cargo ships and smaller watercraft in the archipelago nation.
The Philippines canceled a tennis match in the Southeast Asian Games after rains drenched an outdoor court. Organizers said wind surfing competitions have also been postponed and other events would be delayed if needed for safety but there was no plan to extend the 11-day games which opened Saturday.
Albay province is home to the Mount Mayon volcano, which is famous for its near-perfect cone and has erupted about 50 times in the last 500 years. Its last significant eruption was in early 2018 and prompted tens of thousands of people to evacuate nearby villages.
The Philippines is battered by about 20 typhoons and tropical storms each year and has frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, making the archipelago of more than 100 million people one of the world’s most disaster-prone nations.


US to announce 4,000-troop drawdown from Afghanistan: media

Updated 25 min 37 sec ago

US to announce 4,000-troop drawdown from Afghanistan: media

  • There are 13,000 US troops currently in Afghanistan
  • US President Donald Trump has previously indicated he wants to wind down US military entanglements abroad where possible

WASHINGTON: The Trump administration will announce as early as this week plans to withdraw around 4,000 troops from Afghanistan, US media reported.
Talks between the United States and the Taliban resumed a week ago as the parties sought a path to reduce violence or even reach a cease-fire.
They were paused by Washington on Thursday, however, after an attack by the militant group near a key US air base north of Kabul that left two civilians dead and dozens injured.
There are 13,000 US troops currently in Afghanistan.
NBC on Saturday cited three current and former US officials as saying the Trump administration intends to announce the drawdown of 4,000 troops from Afghanistan.
Two of those said some of the troops would be redeploying early, while others would not be replaced when they end their term.
CNN cited one official in the Trump administration as saying the announcement on a drawdown could happen this week, but that the “timing remains in flux.”
According to a draft agreement from September — reached after years of negotiations — the Taliban would be required to commit to certain security measures, agree to talks with the Afghan government and promise a reduction of violence in exchange for US troop withdrawal.
US President Donald Trump insisted last month on the need for a cease-fire and made a surprise visit to Bagram on November 28 to celebrate Thanksgiving with troops and meet Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.
Trump has previously indicated he wants to wind down US military entanglements abroad where possible.