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DFA tells Pinoys in Japan: Steer clear of typhoon Hagibis

MANILA — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Friday urged Filipinos in Japan to “be careful” of typhoon Hagibis and avoid travelling to areas that may be lashed with its heavy rains and strong winds.

Japan is home to some 290,000 Filipinos. Areas from the west to the northeast of the country would experience “brutal winds and violent seas,” warned Japan’s Meteorological Agency (JMA).

“The [Philippine] Embassy has asked Filipinos in Japan to be careful as heavy rains, strong winds, high waves, and storm surges are likely to occur, and to avoid travelling to potentially affected areas until the typhoon has dissipated,” the DFA said in a statement.

Overnight, Hagibis was downgraded slightly from its “super typhoon” status, but was still forecast to be packing maximum gusts of 216 kilometers per hour when it makes landfall late Saturday.

The storm has already forced the cancellation of 2 Rugby World Cup matches, disrupted the Suzuka Grand Prix and grounded flights. Train operations in Tokyo may also be suspended, said the DFA.

The public should monitor updates from public transportation firms and the Japanese government, while Filipinos in need of help can contact the Embassy hotlines +81 80 4928 7979 and +81 80 7000 7979, added the agency.

The massive storm is expected to dump up to half a meter (nearly 20 inches) of rain on the Tokyo area in the 24 hours to midday on Sunday, with up to 80 centimeters forecast for the central Tokai area.

Japanese officials said they were on alert, with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ordering officials to “take every possible measure to ensure people’s safety,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters.

Japan is hit by around 20 typhoons a year, though the capital is not usually badly affected.

Hagibis is bearing down on the region just weeks after another powerful storm, Typhoon Faxai, hit the area with similar strength, killing 2 and causing major damage in Chiba, east of the capital.

More than 36,000 homes were damaged or destroyed in Chiba, and the local government has urged those in damaged buildings to take shelter elsewhere during the storm.

Local officials equipped with satellite phones will be dispatched across the region to ensure communities can seek help during and after the storm. | ABS CBN News

With a report from Agence France-Presse 

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