Typhoon Rammasun, or Glenda, has left at least seven people dead and knocked out power in many areas but it spared the Philippine capital, Manila, and densely populated northern provinces from being directly battered today when its fierce wind shifted slightly away, officials said.
Still, the typhoon's 93-mile wind and blinding 115-mph gusts, brought down trees, electric posts and ripped off roofs across the capital of 12 million people where government offices and schools were closed. More than 370,000 people moved from high-risk villages to emergency shelters in six provinces.
In a shantytown at the edge of Manila Bay, hundreds fled when strong wind tore tin roofs off their shanties. Most were drenched by the rain before they reached an evacuation center with the help of firemen and rescue personnel.
Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada said he was relieved there were no reported deaths after the typhoon sideswiped his city although its wind still downed trees and damaged seaside shanties, prompting more than 1,000 residents to evacuate.
In pictures: Typhoon Glenda batters Philippines
In pictures: Typhoon Glenda batters Philippines
Residents wade through floods as they go back to their home while Typhoon Rammasun batters suburban Quezon city, north of Manila
Residents of the slum community of Baseco evacuate to safer grounds at the onslaught of typhoon Rammasun in Manila
A Filipino sits on his tri-bike in a flooded area due to typhoon Rammasun in Manila
A fisherman secures his boat as Typhoon Rammasun hits the coastal town of Imus, Cavite southwest of Manila. Philippine authorities evacuated almost 150,000 people from their homes and shuttered financial markets, government offices, businesses and schools as typhoon Rammasun gathered strength and hit the capital, Manila. The typhoon, the strongest to hit the country this year, has already torn through eastern islands, toppling trees and power lines and causing blackouts. It brought storm surges to the Manila Bay area and prompted disaster officials to evacuate slum-dwellers on the capital's outskirts
Workers at a nearby fishing port brave strong rains as Typhoon Rammasun batters suburban Navotas, north of Manila
Filipino residents view their flooded surrounding caused by strong winds and rain brought by typhoon Rammasun along the coastline of the Tondo slum area in Manila
A Filipino rescue worker carries a child after an evacuation was implemented due to Typhoon Rammasun in Manila
Vehicles drive along Roxas Boulevard as Typhoon Rammasun hit Metro Manila
Abandoned homes are hit by waves after they were left behind by their Filipino resident in the strong winds and rain brought by typhoon Rammasun along the coastline of the Tondo slum area in Manila
Filipino residents dismantle a shanty after it was damaged by a barged caused by strong winds and rain brought by typhoon Rammasun along the coastline of the Tondo slum area in Manila
Filipino residents flee strong winds and rain brought by typhoon Typhoon Rammasun in Las Pinas city, south of Manila
Residents of the slum community of Baseco fix the electrical wiring of their topple house following the onslaught of typhoon Rammasun in Manila
Firemen remove the branches from a fallen tree which fell on two cars at the onslaught of Typhoon Rammasun which battered Makati city, east of Manila
People take cover under a tree after strong winds brought by Typhoon Rammasun, battered Manila
A man holds a large umbrella at the onslaught of Typhoon Rammasun (locally known as Glenda) which battered Taguig city east of Manila
“It was like a drill,” he said. “We hauled people away from dangerous seaside areas, whether they liked it or not.”
Elsewhere, a woman died after being hit by a fallen electric post in Northern Samar province and two men, including one traveling on a motorcycle, were separately pinned to death by falling trees in two other provinces. Three members of a family were killed when a wall collapsed on them in Lucena city, southeast of Manila and an 11-month-old boy died after being hit by a wall in a house in Cavite province near the capital, officials said.
Three fishermen have been reported missing in Catanduanes, near Albay province, where Rammasun made landfall late on Tuesday.
There were no immediate estimates of the damage in communities that lost power and telephone connections while being pummeled by the wind and rain.
With last year's massive devastation and deaths from Typhoon Haiyan still in many people's mind, officials said 373,000 people readily evacuated after being told of the danger.
Polangui Mayor Cherilie Mella Sampal said 10,000 of the 80,000 residents in her town in Albay, about 210 miles southeast of Manila, were evacuated before the typhoon struck on Tuesday. Sampal said she saw the wind topple electric posts and lift roofs off houses.
Sampal said residents were worried after witnessing Haiyan's horrific aftermath in the central Philippines last November.
“We're used to and prepared for calamities,” Sampal told The Associated Press by cellphone. “But when people heard that the eye of the typhoon will hit the province, they feared we may end up like the victims of Yolanda,” she said, referring to the local name of Haiyan.
Haiyan's strong winds and tsunami-like storm surges flattened towns, leaving at least 6,300 people dead and more than 1,000 missing.
Rammasun, the Thai term for god of thunder, is the seventh storm to batter the Philippines this year. About 20 typhoons and storm lash the archipelago on the western edge of the Pacific each year, making it one of the world's most disaster-prone countries.