Storm Dujuan hits Southern Philippines, over 5,000 flee homes

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More than 5,000 people have fled to temporary shelters in the southern Philippines as tropical storm Dujuan brought heavy rains, submerging dozens of villages, the country’s disaster risk reduction and management agency said.

Two regions were hit by the storm, including the country’s nickel mining hub of Caraga, with floods damaging some houses and bridges in the province of Surigao del Sur, according to the agency’s initial report.

Dujuan was packing maximum winds of up to 65 kilometres per hour (40 miles per hour) and gusts of up to 80km/h (50mph) as it moved northwest over the southern Philippines, the weather bureau said.

Dujuan was forecast “to maintain its strength in the next 12 hours”, the weather bureau said in a bulletin. “However, the likelihood of weakening into a tropical depression before it makes landfall is not yet ruled out.”

It was expected to make landfall over the eastern provinces of Dinagat Islands-Eastern Samar-Leyte on Monday morning, it added.

Electricity was cut off in several towns as a safety precaution, said Alexander Pimentel, the provincial governor of Surigao del Sur.

More than 18,000 people were preemptively evacuated in the province, according to the provincial engineer.

The bad weather also prompted the cancellation of at least 36 domestic flights.

Rough seas caused coastguard officials to suspend ferry trips, leaving more than 2,000 passengers stranded in various ports in the eastern Philippines.

The Southeast Asian archipelago sees approximately 20 tropical storms annually.

The strongest typhoon to hit the country was Typhoon Haiyan, which killed more than 6,300 people and displaced more than four million in November 2013.