Super typhoon kills at least eight in Philippines

Typhoon Haima, one of the most powerful typhoons to ever hit the Philippines, smashed into the north of the country flooding towns and forcing thousands to flee.

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Haima hit coastal towns facing the Pacific Ocean with sustained winds of 225 kilometres an hour, causing massive destruction across the region on Wednesday evening.

At least eight people have been killed, houses destroyed and giant trees uprooted after Typhoon Haima struck the Phillipines late on Wednesday, said officials on Thursday.

Haima is considered the most powerful typhoon to ever hit the country. It is also the second typhoon to hit the northern Philippines a week after Sarika struck on Sunday. 

"We have received several reports of roofs that were ripped off because of strong winds," said Mina Marasigan, spokeswoman at the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

But with authorities in many devastated areas still unable to report back because of power and communication lines being cut, the death toll was expected to rise.

Haima hit coastal towns facing the Pacific Ocean with wind gusts of up to 315 kilometres. (AP)

Authorities said Haima roared across mountain and farming communities of the northern regions overnight and caused landslides that buried at least four people.

By Thursday morning it had passed over the western edge of Luzon and into the South China Sea, heading towards southern China.

Authorities said two of those killed, aged 16 and 17, were buried in a landslide while sleeping in a house in Ifugao, a mountainous area listed by the United Nations as a World Heritage site.

Two other people were buried in a shanty in another mountainous region, and one person was missing, the disaster risk council's division in the northern Philippines reported. 

"The winds were so strong. They blew away our roof," said Crecy Ramos, 46, a street stall owner in Ilagan, one of the main northern cities in the Philippines. "Everyone in our community had their roofs blown away."

The Southeast Asian archipelago endures about 20 major storms each year, many of them deadly.

The most powerful and deadliest was Haiyan, which destroyed entire towns in heavily populated areas of the central Philippines in 2013 and killed more than 7,000 people.

In Hong Kong, the city's seven million residents were preparing for more heavy rain and disruptive weather as Typhoon Haima approached, following days of monsoon downpours.

TRTWorld and agencies