UN agencies prepare for response as Typhoon Hagupit approaches

United Nations: UN agencies prepared for an emergency response before the massive Typhoon Hagupit made landfall in the Philippines Saturday.

The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) said Friday that Typhoon Hagupit, also known as Ruby, is expected to cross the centre of the Philippines over the weekend, Xinhua reported.

According to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), the typhoon is expected to make landfall Saturday evening over the Eastern or Northern Samar provinces in central Philippines.

According to the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), Typhoon Hagupit has triggered one of the largest evacuations ever seen during peace time in the country, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

About 500,000 people have been evacuated before the projected landfall of the typhoon in central Philippines, a senior government official had said Friday.

"Some 10 million people in central Philippines are at risk of flooding, storm surges and strong winds, with more than 30 million people potentially feeling the impact of the typhoon," Dujarric said.

For its part, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) in the country is in full preparedness mode to assist children and families, the UN spokesman said, adding that the World Food Programme (WFP) also has food stocks available and staff on standby.

The typhoon is forecast to follow a course north of the one followed by Typhoon Haiyan last year, according to the UN spokesman.

Typhoon Haiyan was one of the biggest typhoons in almost a century, and according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), as it slammed into the Philippines Nov 8, 2013, it killed thousands and affected nearly 9.8 million people, while displacing some four million people and destroying 500,000 homes.

The storm also devastated the country's infrastructure, hospitals, schools and public services, causing an estimated loss of $12 billion, while laying the country's agricultural sector to waste.

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