Philippines Prepares for Typhoon Rammasun

Thousands of residents in the northeastern Philippines have evacuated their homes ahead of the arrival of the country's first typhoon of the season.

Typhoon Rammasun is set to make landfall on the impoverished Bicol region Tuesday, packing wind gusts of up to 150 km per hour.

Authorities have been rushing to move tens of thousands of residents in flash flood and landslide prone areas to evacuation centers.

Residents secures their small boat in a safer area in preparations for the strong winds brought by Typhoon Rammasun, locally name Glenda, in a coastal area of Cavite city, south of Manila on July 15, 2014. /Reuters Residents secures their small boat in a safer area in preparations for the strong winds brought by Typhoon Rammasun, locally name Glenda, in a coastal area of Cavite city, south of Manila on July 15, 2014. /Reuters

Dozens of domestic flights have been canceled and schools closed. Shipping lanes were also shut down, stranding hundreds of ferry passengers in ports.

Rammasun, which means "God of Thunder" in Thai, strengthened overnight Monday from a tropical storm to a typhoon.

The storm, a category one typhoon, is expected to hit the densely populated and flood-prone capital, Manila, early Wednesday.

About 20 major storms hit the Philippines every year. Parts of the country are still recovering from last year's Typhoon Haiyan, which killed over 6,300 people with its tsunami-like sea surges.

VOA News / Jul. 16, 2014 07:53 KST