MANILA: A strong tropical storm barreled toward the Philippines on Sunday, threatening the disaster-prone nation’s east coast with giant waves, flooding and landslides, civil defense officials warned.
Forecasters said Tropical Storm Melor could strengthen into a full-fledged typhoon by Monday afternoon when it is expected to strike the central island of Samar.
“We should not underestimate the dangers posed by this storm,” civil defence chief Alexander Pama told a meeting of rescue officials.
No evacuations were ordered, but authorities said they could be if the storm, with gusting winds reaching 140 kilometres an hour, hits the impoverished farming island of Samar which is home to 1.5 million people. The storm was moving west-northwest over the Pacific Ocean on Sunday.
Food packs and other emergency items were stockpiled in the areas forecast to be hammered by Melor and the military was put on standby to evacuate people if necessary.