MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The government closed down major airports and ports as the world’s strongest typhoon this year slammed into the Philippines.
Super typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan) made several landfalls Friday, November 8, carrying maximum sustained winds of 215 kilometers per hour and gusts of up to 250 km/hr.
Over 50 areas were placed under storm signal warnings as strong winds tore roofs off buildings, uprooted trees and brought down power and communication lines.
Schools and offices in affected areas were closed, ferry services were suspended and flights cancelled.
The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) issued a Notice to Airman Friday on domestic and international airports in Bicol and the Visayas, the agency’s deputy director general John Andrews announced.
CAAP suspended airport operations in Roxas, Caticlan, Legaspi, Iloilo, and Romblon until 6 pm Saturday, November 9.
Transportation department spokesperson Michael Arthur Sagcal said operations in 6 more airports were also suspended. These include Tacloban, Surigao, Kalibo, Masbate, Dumaguete and Busuanga.
Airlines, led by legacy carrier Philippine Airlines and budget airline Cebu Pacific, announced hundreds of flight cancellations starting November 7 until 9.
Cancelled flights: Thursday, November 7
Cancelled flights: Friday, November 8
Cancelled flights: Saturday, November 9
Port operations, meanwhile, were suspended indefinitely as Yolanda brought giant waves that washed away homes in coastal areas.
The Philippine Ports Authority said 16 ports were closed and vessels and fast crafts were barred from sailing.
“No vessels at port, no cargo handling. Roro operations have been hold in abeyance starting today until typhoon Yolanda leaves,” the agency said in a statement.
Affected ports include Ormoc (Baseport), Baybay in Leyte, Palompon in Leyte, Naval in Biliran, Isabel in Leyte, Surigao, Lipata in Surigao, Batangas, Poctoy, Lucena, Tabaco, Masbate, Albay, Legazpi, Tagbilaran, and Dumaguete. – Rappler.com
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