Mega-typhoon Megi crashes into Philippines

A mega-typhoon brining 140mph winds has made landfall on the north-east coast of the Philippines, prompting thousands of local residents to flee their homes.

Megi is the strongest cyclone to hit the country in four years, with Palanan Bay in Isabela province the hardest hit.

The storm is now expected to cross the main northern island of Luzon, with local officials warning of possible floods and landslides, particularly in the Cordillera Mountains.

Locals were advised to guard against damage to crops, homes and power lines.

Approximately 157,000 hectares of land planted to rice in Cagayan and Isabela provinces may be in the path of the typhoon, officials have warned.

The Philippines is already the largest importer of rice in the world, with fears of shortages should estimates of damage be realised.

Andrew Villacorta, regional executive director in the agriculture department, said Luzon’s Cagayan valley accounted for 12 per cent of national rice output, or about one million metric tons of unmilled rice.

“Isabela and Cagayan are expected to be hit hard,” he said.

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Flood-ravaged areas of southern China and Vietnam were bracing for more rains from the powerful storm.

Megi was expected to move on towards southern China, which has already evacuated more than 100,000 people from villages because of earlier flooding, according to the China Meteorological Administration.

Mega-Typhoon

Tropical cyclones formed in the Pacific Ocean are called typhoons, but are classified on a scale of one to five in the same way as Atlantic Ocean hurricanes.

Category Five typhoons, with sustained winds of at least 155 knots (140mph; 250km/h), are commonly referred to as super typhoons.

In 2006, a storm with winds of 155km/h triggered mudslides in the Philippines, burying villages and killing about 1,000 people.