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Typhoon Saola Lashes Northern Philippines as it Heads for Taiwan

Typhoon Saola dumped heavy rain across the northern Philippines but didn’t make landfall on Sunday as it moved towards southern Taiwan and China’s southern coast.

Flooding in low-lying villages displaced more than 2,300 people, most of whom sought shelter in government evacuation centres, disaster response officials in the northern Philippines said. No casualties have been reported.

Weather officials warned of the risk of further floods and landslides, especially in mountainous areas that had seen heavy rains over the past few days.

The seventh tropical storm in the Philippines this year, Saola sustained winds of 185kmph (115mph) and gusts of up to 230kmph (143mph) on Sunday evening.

Interisland ferries and cargo vessels were barred from leaving ports in some areas of the northern Philippines.

The provinces of the northern Philippines are among the country’s biggest producers of rice, corn, and vegetables.

An archipelago of more than 7,600 islands, the Philippines sees an average of 20 tropical storms yearly, though few make landfall there.

Typhoon headed for Taiwan, southern China

Saola is expected to weaken and hit the southern tip of Taiwan on Wednesday. Most weather maps put the typhoon on course towards Hong Kong and southern China later this week.

Taiwan’s weather bureau said it expects to issue a sea warning and possibly a land warning as the typhoon approaches.

The Chinese port city of Xiamen, across the strait from Taiwan, suspended ferry services starting from Tuesday.

Last month, Typhoon Doksuri lashed the northern Philippines, displacing thousands, before making landfall and causing deadly floods in China.

Source : Al Jazeera