Typhoon pounds Philippines, disrupting travel, work

Residents evacuate in preparation for Typhoon Kammuri in Legazpi, Albay province yesterday. (AP pic)

MANILA: A typhoon struck the Philippines today bringing heavy rains and prompting pre-emptive halts in air travel, schools and government offices, with some 200,000 people evacuated after warnings of floods and landslides.

Typhoon Kammuri, the 20th typhoon to hit the country this year, weakened slightly and moved slowly across central parts of the archipelago during the night, with damage minor reported in some areas.

The storm was packing 155kph wind speeds and gusts of up to 235kph, the weather bureau said.

Authorities warned of landslides, storm surges and floods triggered by heavy winds and rain, pre-emptively moving 200,000 people to safe places in several dozen provinces.

There were no immediate reports of casualties or significant damage.

The main airport in Manila would be closed for 12 hours from 11am to 11pm as a precaution, although air travel continued in unaffected areas of the country.

Government offices and schools were closed in affected areas and utilities firms appealed for patience ahead of anticipated power outages.

The coastguard halted commercial sea travel in affected areas.

Local television showed footage of the main airport in Legazpi province with cables, lighting and panels hanging from the ceiling.

Pictures posted by social media users showed waves crashing against bulwarks, felled trees and signage, and some minor damage to electricity poles.

The Philippines is hosting the Southeast Asian Games and organisers postponed several events, including the surfing, kayak, windsurfing, sailing and canoe contests.