Philippine typhoon survivors brace for new storm

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iol pic wld 4_PHILIPPINES-TYPHOON-_1117_11 REUTERS A devotee holding a rosary prays during Sunday Mass at Santo Nino Church after Super typhoon Haiyan battered Tacloban city in central Philippines on Novemver 17, 2013. Picture: Edgar Su

Tacloban, Philippines - Hundreds of people who survived Super Typhoon Haiyan are bracing for a new storm that is expected to hit the central Philippines late Friday, officials said.

Tropical storm Kajiki, packing maximum winds of 100 kilometres per hour, is expected to hit the central island of Leyte before midnight, cutting through the archipelago as it heads towards the South China Sea, the government weather station said.

Although Kajiki is far weaker than Haiyan - one of the strongest storms ever to hit land with winds reaching 315 kilometres per hour - authorities are still warning it could bring new flashfloods and landslides to communities living in already rudimentary shelters.

Leyte suffered the worst casualties when Super Typhoon Haiyan struck in November, flattening whole towns and leaving about 8 000 dead or missing.

In the island's still-ruined capital of Tacloban City, about 150 families living near the coast evacuated ahead of time before the storm hit.

The residents, who are still housed in tents after Haiyan destroyed their homes, fled to higher ground or took refuge with friends or relatives, said city administrator Tecson Lim.

Housewife Bising Alberta 55, said her family had decided to voluntarily flee “even before the government told us to evacuate,” as she and her loved ones packed up to find shelter in a crowded boarding house.

During Haiyan's fury, her house was wiped out by large waves and she had to be hospitalised for her subsequent injuries.

“I am a survivor (of Haiyan). I am scared of water now. Even if it is just drizzling, I am already frightened,” she said.

Regional civil defence chief Rey Gozon said pre-emptive evacuation had been ordered in all areas expected to be affected by the new storm.

Stockpiles of food have also been prepared in case more people are forced to flee, he added.

The second level of a three-step storm alert has been raised over much of the central and southern Philippine islands with a lower alert hoisted over the surrounding areas. - AFP


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