Super Typhoon Haima threatens millions in Philippines

The category 5 storm could cause flooding, landslides and storm surges of up to five meters. It is the second storm to batter the country in the past week.

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

This October 17, 2016 NASA handout image shows Typhoon Sarika (L) approaching southern China and Vietnam, followed closely by Typhoon Haima.

Philippines are ordering evacuations of their northern coastal, low-lying and mountainous areas as Super Typhoon Haima heads toward the country on Wednesday. 

The typhoon is the strongest to hit the country in three years and is set to make landfall by midnight local time. It is the fourth storm to hit the region in the past month. Over the weekend, Typhoon Sarika killed two people and left thousands homeless. 

"The typhoon is very strong and destructive because of its large diameter," said Rene Paciente, assistant weather services chief at the weather bureau.

As a category 5 storm - the highest rating a storm can get - is expected to cause flooding, landslides, and waves of up to five meters (16.5 ft), the weather bureau said.

Millions of people in the Philippines were ordered on Wednesday to prepare for one of the strongest typhoons to ever hit the disaster-battered country. (AFP)

More than 10 million people across the northern parts of the Philippines' main island of Luzon will be affected, according to the government's disaster risk management agency.

Ahead of the arrival of the storm some flights and classes have been suspended, while the Philippine Coast Guard has banned sea travel and fishing.

Nevertheless, the areas directly in Haima's path are not densely populated and are well-drilled in storm preparations.

Haima was forecast to pass over Luzon on Thursday, then track towards southern Hong Kong and southern China.

In 2013, Super Typhoon Haiyan struck the central Philippines, killing at least 6,000 people.

Two weeks ago Hurrican Matthew, a category 4 storm, battered Haiti, killing over 1,000 people and leaving thousands displaced.

TRTWorld and agencies