Streets were flooded and entire regions lost all means of communication in the Philippines today as Typhoon Hagupit swept across the country.
More than a million people fled to shelters away from the coastline and landslide-prone villages and sought refuge in local evacuation centres.
According to Reuters, local radio had reported that at least four people were killed in Eastern Samar and Iloilo but this was unconfirmed by officials.
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Typhoon Hagupit, known locally as Ruby, has made landfall.
The country's official Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration reported the arrival of the storm on its twitter feed.
Intense rain and strong winds are starting to sweep across the Philippines as Typhoon Hagupit prepares to make landfall.
Strong winds have already felled trees in the east of the country as the storm threatens to leave a wave of destruction in its wake.
Power has been cut across most of the central Philippine island of Samar and nearby Leyte province, with a local official saying "the wind is blowing so strongly, it's like it is whirling."
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More than half a million people have taken shelter in evacuation centres across the Philippines as the country braces for Typhoon Hagupit, but the buildings they fled to may not be safe according to an international relief agency.
Refugees International told Reuters: "A damage assessment of designated evacuation centres in typhoon-affected areas indicated that in some places - such as Eastern Samar, where Hagupit is headed - less than 10 percent of evacuation centres were likely to withstand future typhoons."
More than 616,000 people have fled from low-lying villages and landslide-prone areas in the Philippines as Typhoon Hagupit sweeps towards the eastern coast of the country today.
According to the national disaster agency people are taking shelter in schools, civic centres, town halls, gyms and churches as the storm approaches.
Typhoon Hagupit has been downgraded to the category just below 'super typhoon' but is still expected to bring torrential rain and potentially disastrous storm surges of up to 4.5 meters.
Satellite images from the Philippines' official meteorological organisation show the progress of Typhoon Hagupit as it approaches the island nation.
The eye of the storm, known locally as Ruby, appears to be headed towards the Legaspi area, according to images published by PAGASA (the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services).
Department of Science and Technology Secretary Mario Montejo has warned people to prepare for the worst-case scenario.
Around half a million people have fled coastal villages in the Philippines to take shelter in special evacuation centres, ahead of the arrival of a powerful typhoon expected to land tomorrow.
Typhoon Hagupit has weakened slightly, dropping it below the level five ‘super-typhoon’ category, but people on the island are still braced for major destruction when it hits.
More than 150 flights to the country have been cancelled, while ports have been closed down after the coastguard suspended sea travel.