A powerful storm is bearing down on the Philippines, prompting residents to flee their homes in some central coastal regions still recovering from last year’s deadly Typhoon Haiyan.
Typhoon Hagupit, which was packing winds as high as 149 mph over the Pacifc Ocean on Thursday, is expected to make landfall Saturday, bringing heavy rain and storm surges of up to 13 feet.
Although there is uncertainty about the storm’s route, forecasts by the Philippines weather agency show it hitting the eastern coast and barreling west along a trajectory similar to that of Haiyan, which destroyed about 1 million homes, displaced 4 million people and left more than 7,300 dead and missing in November 2013.
"The trauma has returned," Emily Sagales told the Associated Press in Tacloban, a city of about 200,000 people that was devastated by Haiyan.
She said many of her neighbors had packed their clothes and fled to a sports stadium or to relatives’ homes.
Long lines were forming at grocery stores and gas stations as residents stocked up on provisions, said Sagales, whose mother-in-law was killed and home washed away in last year’s storm.
In the capital, Manila, President Benigno Aquino III led a meeting Thursday of disaster-response agencies to review preparations for the typhoon known locally as Ruby, the Philippines News Agency reported.
The government is opening evacuation centers, positioning emergency supplies and has placed security personnel on alert.
Haiyan was one of the strongest storms ever to make landfall. More than a year later, thousands of people in the Philippines still live in tents and other makeshift shelters.
For more international news, follow @alexzavis on Twitter