Powerful typhoon threatens Philippines, thousands evacuated

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MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Tens of thousands of people are being evacuated to emergency shelters in the southern and central Philippines as a powerful typhoon approaches.

Crowding in evacuation centers was complicating efforts to keep people safely distanced after authorities detected the country’s first infections caused by the omicron variant of the coronavirus.

Forecasters said Thursday they last tracked Typhoon Rai, with sustained winds of 185 kilometers (115 miles) per hour and gusts up to 230 kph (143 mph), about 175 kilometers (109 miles) east of southern Surigao del Norte province.

It was moving northwestward at 25 kph (15 mph).

The typhoon, locally called Odette, was expected to hit the Dinagat Islands in the southeast later in the day.

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