Illustrative photo (Photo: The Strait Times)
 
Hanoi (VNA) – The Philippine authorities warned on December 23 that a strong typhoon is set to sweep the country on Christmas Day as millions of Catholics are preparing for their most important event in the year.

Nock-Ten is expected to be packing winds of up to 194 km per hour when it hit the eastern area of Luzon Island on December 25, according to the United States Joint Typhoon Warning Centre.

Romina Marasigan, Spokeswoman for the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, said that the local people had been informed of the storm. The highest levels of readiness are being undertaken, as food and other provisions are prepared in the designated evacuation centres, she added.

Local weather authorities forecast that Nock-Ten could brush past Manila after Christmas Day if it maintained its current speed. The main threats are landslides and flash floods caused by heavy rains, as well as potentially large waves smashing through coastal communities.

The Philippine islands are often the first major landmass to be stricken by storms that generate over the Pacific. The Southeast Asian country endures about 20 major storms each year, many of them deadly.

The most powerful and deadliest was Haiyan, which left 7,350 people dead or missing and destroyed entire towns in heavily populated areas of the central Philippines in November 2013.-VNA