Philippines grounds air, sea travel as typhoon Nesat nears

The Philippines halted all ferries and fishing boats in its central provinces on Monday as typhoon Nesat intensified and moved closer to the country, threatening coconut-growing regions, with typhoon alerts raised in nearly all provinces on the country’s main Luzon island.

More than 100,000 people in Albay province in the central Bicol region were ordered to move to safer areas, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said.

Flights to Bicol were suspended, and schools in the capital Manila closed in the afternoon in response to heavy rains and strong winds brought by Nesat, expected to reach category 3 typhoon before making landfall on Tuesday.

The disaster agency said hundreds of motorists and ferry passengers were stranded in ports, while soldiers and rescue workers were put on alert to help move residents to safety from areas at risk of flood and landslide.

Packing winds of 120 kph (75 mph) with gusts of up to 150 kph, Nesat was 350 km (217 miles) east by southeast of Casiguran town in northern Aurora province on the main island of Luzon, moving west by northwest.