The Philippines is bracing for the arrival of Typhoon Mangkhut, expected to make landfall early Saturday morning.
The super typhoon is 885 kilometers wide with maximum sustained winds up to 274 kilometers per hour. Atlantic storms of the same size and speed are classified as category 5 hurricanes.
Mangkhutis expected to cause widespread damage to infrastructure, agriculture and livelihoods within its 900-kilometer diameter, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), said in a statement Friday.
Philippine Red Cross specialists have been sent to areas likely to be hit by Mangkhut, ready to assess damage and deliver immediate assistance once it is safe, the statement said.
Businesses and residents on Luzon, an island home to millions, were making last-minute preparations as forecasters warned of wind gusts as high as 255 kilometers per hour.
The Philippines began evacuating thousands of people Thursday, but more than 4 million people remain at risk in Luzon, the country's agricultural center for rice and corn.
Typhoon Mangkhut, known in the Philippines as Ompong, is the 15th storm to hit the Philippines this year. On average the Philippines experiences about 20 a year.
Earlier Friday, the storm passed over the U.S. territory of Guam, knocking down trees and taking out 80 percent of the island's power.
Source: Voice of America