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Philippines

Typhoon skips Manila, kills 20

Thousands head to emergency shelters

  • A man salvages what is left of his makeshift house as Typhoon Rammasun batters suburban Navotas, north of Manila,  Philippines on Wednesday, July 16, 2014. Typhoon Rammasun knocked out power in many areas but it spared the Philippine capital, Manila, and densely-populated northern provinces from being directly battered Wednesday when its fierce wind shifted slightly away, officials said.  (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

    A man salvages what is left of his makeshift house as Typhoon Rammasun batters suburban Navotas, north of Manila, Philippines on Wednesday, July 16, 2014. Typhoon Rammasun knocked out power in many areas but it spared the Philippine capital, Manila, and densely-populated northern provinces from being directly battered Wednesday when its fierce wind shifted slightly away, officials said. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

  • Residents of the slum community of Baseco evacuate to safer grounds as Typhoon Rammasun battered Manila, Philippines, Wednesday, July 16, 2014. Rammasun knocked out power in many areas but it spared the Philippine capital and densely populated northern provinces from being directly battered Wednesday when its fierce wind shifted slightly away, officials said. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

    Residents of the slum community of Baseco evacuate to safer grounds as Typhoon Rammasun battered Manila, Philippines, Wednesday, July 16, 2014. Rammasun knocked out power in many areas but it spared the Philippine capital and densely populated northern provinces from being directly battered Wednesday when its fierce wind shifted slightly away, officials said. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

  • A Filipino resident takes pictures using her smartphone outside a flooded village as Typhoon Rammasun batters suburban Quezon city, north of Manila,  Philippines on Wednesday, July 16, 2014. Typhoon Rammasun knocked out power in many areas but it spared the Philippine capital, Manila, and densely-populated northern provinces from being directly battered Wednesday when its fierce wind shifted slightly away, officials said.  (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

    A Filipino resident takes pictures using her smartphone outside a flooded village as Typhoon Rammasun batters suburban Quezon city, north of Manila, Philippines on Wednesday, July 16, 2014. Typhoon Rammasun knocked out power in many areas but it spared the Philippine capital, Manila, and densely-populated northern provinces from being directly battered Wednesday when its fierce wind shifted slightly away, officials said. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

  • A Filipino resident salvages what is left of her makeshift home as Typhoon Rammasun batters suburban Navotas, north of Manila,  Philippines on Wednesday, July 16, 2014. Typhoon Rammasun knocked out power in many areas but it spared the Philippine capital, Manila, and densely-populated northern provinces from being directly battered Wednesday when its fierce wind shifted slightly away, officials said.  (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

    A Filipino resident salvages what is left of her makeshift home as Typhoon Rammasun batters suburban Navotas, north of Manila, Philippines on Wednesday, July 16, 2014. Typhoon Rammasun knocked out power in many areas but it spared the Philippine capital, Manila, and densely-populated northern provinces from being directly battered Wednesday when its fierce wind shifted slightly away, officials said. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

  • Filipino children play with a bathtub along flooded roads as Typhoon Rammasun batters suburban Navotas, north of Manila,  Philippines on Wednesday, July 16, 2014. Typhoon Rammasun knocked out power in many areas but it spared the Philippine capital, Manila, and densely-populated northern provinces from being directly battered Wednesday when its fierce wind shifted slightly away, officials said.  (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

    Filipino children play with a bathtub along flooded roads as Typhoon Rammasun batters suburban Navotas, north of Manila, Philippines on Wednesday, July 16, 2014. Typhoon Rammasun knocked out power in many areas but it spared the Philippine capital, Manila, and densely-populated northern provinces from being directly battered Wednesday when its fierce wind shifted slightly away, officials said. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

  • Young residents look at the remains of damaged homes as Typhoon Rammasun batters suburban Navotas, north of Manila,  Philippines on Wednesday, July 16, 2014. Typhoon Rammasun knocked out power in many areas but it spared the Philippine capital, Manila, and densely-populated northern provinces from being directly battered Wednesday when its fierce wind shifted slightly away, officials said.  (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

    Young residents look at the remains of damaged homes as Typhoon Rammasun batters suburban Navotas, north of Manila, Philippines on Wednesday, July 16, 2014. Typhoon Rammasun knocked out power in many areas but it spared the Philippine capital, Manila, and densely-populated northern provinces from being directly battered Wednesday when its fierce wind shifted slightly away, officials said. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

  • Residents of the slum community of Baseco fix the electrical wiring of their topple house following the onslaught of typhoon Rammasun Wednesday, July 16, 2014 in Manila, Philippines.  Typhoon Rammasun left at least seven people dead and knocked out power in many areas Wednesday but the Philippine capital and densely populated northern provinces were spared a direct battering when its fierce winds shifted slightly. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

    Residents of the slum community of Baseco fix the electrical wiring of their topple house following the onslaught of typhoon Rammasun Wednesday, July 16, 2014 in Manila, Philippines. Typhoon Rammasun left at least seven people dead and knocked out power in many areas Wednesday but the Philippine capital and densely populated northern provinces were spared a direct battering when its fierce winds shifted slightly. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

  • A boy evacuates to safer grounds at the onslaught of Typhoon Rammasun (locally known as Glenda) which battered the city Wednesday, July 16, 2014, in Manila,  Philippines. Typhoon Rammasun 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 Wednesday when its fierce wind shifted slightly away, officials said.(AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

    A boy evacuates to safer grounds at the onslaught of Typhoon Rammasun (locally known as Glenda) which battered the city Wednesday, July 16, 2014, in Manila, Philippines. Typhoon Rammasun 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 Wednesday when its fierce wind shifted slightly away, officials said.(AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

  • Residents try to fix the tent of their stall at the onslaught of  typhoon Rammasun in Taguig city, east of Manila, Philippines  Wednesday, July 16, 2014. Typhoon Rammasun 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 Wednesday when its fierce wind shifted slightly away, officials said. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

    Residents try to fix the tent of their stall at the onslaught of typhoon Rammasun in Taguig city, east of Manila, Philippines Wednesday, July 16, 2014. Typhoon Rammasun 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 Wednesday when its fierce wind shifted slightly away, officials said. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

  • Residents at the slum community of Baseco reinforce their roofing at the onslaught of Typhoon Rammasun (locally known as Glenda) which battered Manila Wednesday, July 16, 2014, in the Philippines. Typhoon Rammasun 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 Wednesday when its fierce wind shifted slightly away, officials said. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

    Residents at the slum community of Baseco reinforce their roofing at the onslaught of Typhoon Rammasun (locally known as Glenda) which battered Manila Wednesday, July 16, 2014, in the Philippines. Typhoon Rammasun 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 Wednesday when its fierce wind shifted slightly away, officials said. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

  • Residents wade through floods as they go back to their home while Typhoon Rammasun batters suburban Quezon city, north of Manila,  Philippines on Wednesday, July 16, 2014. Typhoon Rammasun knocked out power in many areas but it spared the Philippine capital, Manila, and densely-populated northern provinces from being directly battered Wednesday when its fierce wind shifted slightly away, officials said.  (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

    Residents wade through floods as they go back to their home while Typhoon Rammasun batters suburban Quezon city, north of Manila, Philippines on Wednesday, July 16, 2014. Typhoon Rammasun knocked out power in many areas but it spared the Philippine capital, Manila, and densely-populated northern provinces from being directly battered Wednesday when its fierce wind shifted slightly away, officials said. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

  • A man salvages what is left of his makeshift house as Typhoon Rammasun batters suburban Navotas, north of Manila,  Philippines on Wednesday, July 16, 2014. Typhoon Rammasun knocked out power in many areas but it spared the Philippine capital, Manila, and densely-populated northern provinces from being directly battered Wednesday when its fierce wind shifted slightly away, officials said.  (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
  • Residents of the slum community of Baseco evacuate to safer grounds as Typhoon Rammasun battered Manila, Philippines, Wednesday, July 16, 2014. Rammasun knocked out power in many areas but it spared the Philippine capital and densely populated northern provinces from being directly battered Wednesday when its fierce wind shifted slightly away, officials said. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
  • A Filipino resident takes pictures using her smartphone outside a flooded village as Typhoon Rammasun batters suburban Quezon city, north of Manila,  Philippines on Wednesday, July 16, 2014. Typhoon Rammasun knocked out power in many areas but it spared the Philippine capital, Manila, and densely-populated northern provinces from being directly battered Wednesday when its fierce wind shifted slightly away, officials said.  (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
  • A Filipino resident salvages what is left of her makeshift home as Typhoon Rammasun batters suburban Navotas, north of Manila,  Philippines on Wednesday, July 16, 2014. Typhoon Rammasun knocked out power in many areas but it spared the Philippine capital, Manila, and densely-populated northern provinces from being directly battered Wednesday when its fierce wind shifted slightly away, officials said.  (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
  • Filipino children play with a bathtub along flooded roads as Typhoon Rammasun batters suburban Navotas, north of Manila,  Philippines on Wednesday, July 16, 2014. Typhoon Rammasun knocked out power in many areas but it spared the Philippine capital, Manila, and densely-populated northern provinces from being directly battered Wednesday when its fierce wind shifted slightly away, officials said.  (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
  • Young residents look at the remains of damaged homes as Typhoon Rammasun batters suburban Navotas, north of Manila,  Philippines on Wednesday, July 16, 2014. Typhoon Rammasun knocked out power in many areas but it spared the Philippine capital, Manila, and densely-populated northern provinces from being directly battered Wednesday when its fierce wind shifted slightly away, officials said.  (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
  • Residents of the slum community of Baseco fix the electrical wiring of their topple house following the onslaught of typhoon Rammasun Wednesday, July 16, 2014 in Manila, Philippines.  Typhoon Rammasun left at least seven people dead and knocked out power in many areas Wednesday but the Philippine capital and densely populated northern provinces were spared a direct battering when its fierce winds shifted slightly. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
  • A boy evacuates to safer grounds at the onslaught of Typhoon Rammasun (locally known as Glenda) which battered the city Wednesday, July 16, 2014, in Manila,  Philippines. Typhoon Rammasun 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 Wednesday when its fierce wind shifted slightly away, officials said.(AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
  • Residents try to fix the tent of their stall at the onslaught of  typhoon Rammasun in Taguig city, east of Manila, Philippines  Wednesday, July 16, 2014. Typhoon Rammasun 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 Wednesday when its fierce wind shifted slightly away, officials said. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
  • Residents at the slum community of Baseco reinforce their roofing at the onslaught of Typhoon Rammasun (locally known as Glenda) which battered Manila Wednesday, July 16, 2014, in the Philippines. Typhoon Rammasun 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 Wednesday when its fierce wind shifted slightly away, officials said. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
  • Residents wade through floods as they go back to their home while Typhoon Rammasun batters suburban Quezon city, north of Manila,  Philippines on Wednesday, July 16, 2014. Typhoon Rammasun knocked out power in many areas but it spared the Philippine capital, Manila, and densely-populated northern provinces from being directly battered Wednesday when its fierce wind shifted slightly away, officials said.  (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

A typhoon blew out of the northern Philippines yesterday after causing at least 20 deaths, knocking out power in entire provinces, damaging two parked jetliners and forcing nearly half a million people to flee from its lethal wind and rains, officials said.

The eye of Typhoon Rammasun made a late shift away from Manila, but its peak winds of 93 miles per hour and gusts up to 115 mph forced down trees and electric posts and ripped off roofs across the capital of 12 million people that largely shut down ahead of the deluge.

Although Rammasun packed far less power than Typhoon Haiyan, haunting memories of last year’s horrific storm devastation prompted many villagers to rapidly move to safety at the prodding of authorities. Of the half a million people affected by Rammasun, more than 423,000 fled to emergency shelters, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

In a shantytown at the edge of Manila Bay, hundreds of people fled when strong winds started to tear tin roofs off their shanties. Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada said his city staged anti-disaster drills two weeks ago precisely to prevent massive deaths during a catastrophe and he was relieved that only a few residents sustained injuries yesterday.

While the low human toll has been attributed to the typhoon skipping Manila, Estrada believed the public’s higher awareness of anti-disaster maneuvers saved many lives. He acknowledged that the wind and rain weren’t as deadly as many have feared and it was a good time for everyone to hone their survival skills.

“It was like a drill,” Estrada told the Associated Press.

Officials reported at least 20 deaths elsewhere, mostly people pinned by falling trees and electrical posts. A fire volunteer died when he was hit by a block of concrete while hauling down a Philippine flag in suburban Pasig city, said Francis Tolentino, chairman of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority.

Three fishermen were reported missing in Catanduanes, near Albay province, where Rammasun made landfall late Tuesday.

At Manila’s international airport, the left wing of a Singapore Airlines Boeing 777 was damaged after strong gusts pushed it against a bridge passageway, manager Angel Honrado said. No one was injured.

One other parked jetliner reportedly sustained minor damages.

There were no immediate estimates of the damage in many communities that lost power and telephone connections.

Polangui Mayor Cherilie Mella Sampal said 10,000 of the 80,000 residents in her Albay town, about 340 kilometers (210 miles) southeast of Manila, abandoned their homes before the typhoon, many of them worried after witnessing Haiyan’s deadly aftermath in the central Philippines last November.

At least 6,300 people died and more than 1,000 were left missing from Haiyan, one of the most ferocious typhoons to hit land.

“We’re used to and prepared for calamities,” Sampal said. “But when people heard that the eye of the typhoon will hit the province, they feared we may end up like the victims” of Haiyan.

Although Rammasun slightly weakened as it scythed across the country’s main northern region, it may strengthen over the South China Sea before slamming either Vietnam or southern China, according to government forecasters.

Rammasun, the Thai term for god of thunder, is the seventh storm to batter the Philippines this year. About 20 typhoons and storms lash the archipelago on the western edge of the Pacific each year, making it one of the world’s most disaster-prone countries.

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