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Philippines evacuates hundreds of thousands ahead of typhoon, to shut main airport

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By Reuters
Philippines evacuates hundreds of thousands ahead of typhoon, to shut main airport
Trees sway near buildings as Typhoon Kammuri, known locally as Typhoon Tisoy, makes landfall in Gamay, Northern Samar, Philippines, December 2, 2019, in this still image from video obtained via social media. Gladys Castillo Vidal via REUTERS   -   Copyright  Social Media(Reuters)
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MANILA (Reuters) – The Philippines evacuated 200,000 people in coastal and mountainous areas due to fears of flooding and landslides and said it would also shut its main international airport as a powerful typhoon was set to make landfall on Monday night.

Typhoon Kammuri, the 20th typhoon to hit the country this year, was expected to make landfall on the Philippines’ main Luzon island, packing 165 kph wind speeds and gusts of up to 230 kph, the weather bureau said.

Airport authorities said all four terminals of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in the capital Manila would be closed from 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. (0300 GMT to 1500 GMT) on Tuesday as a precaution.

To give priority to those flights affected by the shutdown, regular runaway maintenance will be suspended for three days after normal service resumes, they said.

Authorities raised the tropical cyclone warning level for 35 provinces and told people in areas in the path of the Category 3 typhoon to be on alert for possible landslides, storm surges and floods triggered by heavy winds and rain.

The disaster agency said 200,000 people had been evacuated from dozens of provinces in southern Luzon.

The Philippines is playing host to the 30th Southeast Asia Games which will run through Dec. 11. It has suspended canoeing and windsurfing competitions scheduled for Dec. 3.

The country is hit by an average 20 typhoons each year.

(Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales and Jay Ereno; Editing by Gareth Jones)