Thousands of villagers were forced to flee their homes in the Philippines as a fast-moving typhoon made landfall, flooding rural villages, ripping off roofs and toppling trees and powerlines, officials said.
There were no immediate reports of casualties from Typhoon Molave, but authorities on Monday reported at least one person was missing and seven others were rescued after their yacht sank off Batangas province south of Manila.
The typhoon has sustained winds of 125 kilometres per hour (77 miles per hour) and gusts of up to 180 km/h (112mph) and was blowing westward at 25 km/h (15 mph). Molave is expected to start blowing out of the country into the South China Sea on Monday, government forecasters said.
At least 25,000 villagers were displaced with about 20,000 taking shelter in schools and government buildings which were turned into evacuation centres, according to the Office of Civil Defense.
“Villagers are now asking to be rescued because of the sudden wind which blew away roofs,” Humerlito Dolor, governor of Oriental Mindoro province, told DZMM radio.
Dolor said pounding rains overnight swamped farming villages in his province, then fierce winds toppled trees and power posts early on Monday, knocking out power. Authorities were clearing roads of fallen trees and debris in some towns after the typhoon passed, he said.
More than 1,800 cargo truck drivers, workers and passengers were stranded in ports after the coastguard barred ships and ferry boats from venturing into rough seas.
Molave follows Tropical Storm Saudel, which last week caused widespread flooding in Quezon province in the Calabarzon region, southeast of the capital Manila.
About 20 typhoons and storms annually batter the Philippines, and the Southeast Asian archipelago is seismically active, with earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, making it one of the world’s most disaster-prone countries.