A powerful typhoon is expected to make a landfall in the Philippines’ Luzon island on Saturday, prompting authorities to start evacuations.
The typhoon named Ompong in the Philippines, will bring heavy rains and storm surges. Red Cross has placed its teams in Northern Luzon on alert.
The Hong Kong observatory classified Ompong as a super typhoon with maximum winds of up to 240 km/h. It’s forecast to make a landfall in Cagayan province on Saturday before heading to Hong Kong and South China.
Bloomberg reports that it can affect as many as 31.4 million people in the region, according to the United Nation’s Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System. The Hong Kong government also convened a meeting on Wednesday to review contingency plans.
About 20 cyclones pass through disaster prone Philippines each year. In 2013, Super Typhoon Haiyan which packed winds of as high as 315 kilometers per hour killed more than 6,300 people there. The Southeast Asian nation is preparing stand-by funds, food, supplies and rescue ahead of Ompong’s worst impact in the next two days.
The storm which is the strongest to hit the Philippines this year is also threatening farmlands in Luzon just before the rice and corn harvest. It could damage as much as 13 billion pesos worth of crops, further threatening inflation that’s at a nine-year high.