MANILA, Dec. 15 (UPI) — At least two people have died in the Philippines as Typhoon Melor regained strength Tuesday morning while moving across the archipelago.
The storm system unexpectedly became stronger, reaching sustained winds up to 145 mph, according to the U.S. military’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center. Typhoon Melor has caused power cuts and disrupted transportation as it has moved through several islands since Monday.
The storm, known locally as Nona, has not made direct landfall to major population areas. Dozens of flights have been canceled and about 7,000 sea travelers were stranded in ports.
A man died after being hit by a metal sheet in northern Samar. Another was killed by a falling tree in Sorsogon. About 733,000 people have been pre-emptively evacuated, the Philippine national disaster management agency said.
The Philippine Red Cross deployed assessment teams in areas hit by the typhoon to report on damages
“There are now 170,521 individuals in 43 municipalities that have been affected by typhoon Nona,” the Philippine Red Cross said in a statement. “A total of 44 evacuation centers have been identified, where 123,690 families or 569,055 individuals are taking temporary shelter.”
The Philippines is often the victim of deadly typhoons. In November 2013, Super Typhoon Haiyan, one of the most powerful storms ever to make landfall, killed or left missing more than 7,000 people.
“We are continuously monitoring the situations in the field through the reports from our chapters and assessment teams. Our assessment teams in the field will be moving from Samar to Albay and Sorsogon to give us first-hand reports on the priority needs of the affected communities,” Philippine Red Cross chairman Richard Gordon said.
“We also deployed satellite phones in Batangas, Camarines Norte and Albay, to make reporting of situation and needs faster.”