Sept. 20 - Coastal villages in parts of the Philippines are evacuated as typhoon Usagi approaches. Rough cut (no reporter narration)
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The Philippines evacuated northern coastal villages, suspended ferry services and called in fishing boats on Friday (September 20) as an approaching category-five storm, already labelled a "super typhoon", gained strength on a path set for southern China.
With centre winds of 205 kph (127 mph) and gusts of up to 240 kph, Typhoon Usagi, the strongest storm to hit the Western Pacific this year, was moving northwest at 19 kph between the Philippines and Taiwan and headed for Hong Kong and south China.
Storm alerts have been raised on the rice and coconut-growing island of Batanes and 15 provinces on the Philippines' main island of Luzon, the weather bureau said.
Minor landslides were reported in the northern Province of Benguet due to overnight rains.
Disaster officials advised fishermen along the coastal villages in the northernmost region against going out to sea and evacuate to safer areas.
Power and communications in the area have been cut off for safety reasons and hospitals were put on alert as disaster agencies stocked up on food and water. Troops were also on standby.
Usagi is expected to batter the northernmost islands overnight on Friday. It is also likely to weaken before it hits southern China on Sunday (September 22) night.
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