Fast-moving Typhoon Kalmaegi slams into northeastern Philippines

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MANILA, Philippines — A fast-moving typhoon slammed into the northeastern Philippines on Sunday, sparking warnings of possible landslides, flash floods and storm surges.

Typhoon Kalmaegi, with sustained winds of 130 kilometers per hour (81 miles per hour) and gusts of 160 kph (99 mph), blew into the boundary of Cagayan and Isabela provinces with no immediate reports of casualties. It was forecast to barrel northwestward through the mountainous north at 22 kph (14 mph) before blowing out Tuesday into the South China Sea, government forecasters said.

Residents in at least nine northern provinces, which have been drenched by days of rains, were warned to take precautions and stay away from already soggy mountainsides and swollen rivers. Classes have been suspended in cities and provinces that are expected to be swamped by floodwaters overnight or on Monday.

The storm has been blamed for enhancing monsoon winds that whipped up big waves and caused a stalled ferry to sink in the central Philippines late Saturday. Cargo and passenger ships plucked at least 110 survivors from the rough waters and recovered three bodies after the ferry sank.

Kalmaegi, the Korean word for seagull, is the 12th weather disturbance to batter the Philippines this year. The calamity-prone archipelago is lashed by about 20 storms and typhoons every year, each requiring major disaster-mitigation preparations.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development said it has pre-positioned 3,000 family food packs in northern communities that may be isolated by the storm. About 100,000 other such food packs have been prepared in case of wider typhoon-wrought calamity. Army and police forces, backed by rubber boats, trucks and air force helicopters, have been put on standby for possible search and rescue operations.

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