Millions take refuge as colossal typhoon slams Philippines

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Millions take refuge as colossal typhoon slams Philippines

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The Philippines is being battered by punishing winds and rains whipped up by Typhoon Haiyan, the strongest typhoon in the world this year and possibly the most powerful storm ever to make landfall.

Millions of people fled to safer ground as the category 5 storm headed towards the densely populated central and southern Philippines including the resort island of Boracay and other holiday destinations.

“The super typhoon likely made landfall with winds near 195 miles per hour (313 kilometres per hour)” Jeff Masters, a US-based hurricane expert and meteorologist said, adding “This makes Haiyan the strongest tropical cyclone on record to make landfall.”

Authorities warned more than 12 million people could be at risk, including residents of the Philippines’ second-largest city Cebu.

Philippine President Benigno Aquino appealed to people in the storm’s path to move from danger spots such as river banks, coastal villages and mountain slopes.

The storm is not expected to directly hit the capital, Manila.