Manila, Dec 6: Over half a million people fled to safer shelters as the Philippines prepared for a powerful typhoon which was moving towards the central provinces that are yet to overcome the scars of Typhoon Haiyan in November 2013 that killed over 6,300 people, left several missing and rendered over 4 million homeless or with destroyed houses. ['Philippines women vulnerable after Typhoon Haiyan']
According to a Reuters report, the new typhoon named Hagupit was advancing towards the eastern coast with its eye 230 kilometres east-northeast of Borongan in Eastern Samar province.
Though the storm was downgraded but it still had the potential of unleashing massive destruction. The storm may hit Eastern or Northern Samar Province early on Sunday. The wind speed was already going to 195 kmph.
Nearly 100 flights to central and southern Philippines of the Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific were cancelled on Saturday.
The authorities appealed to the people on the national radio to shift to safer locations and people from low-lying areas shifted to civic centres, churches and town halls.
The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction in Geneva said 2,00,000 people had been evacuated in Cebu, the central island province, the Reuters report said.
The evacuation was termed as one of the largest peacetime ones.