Power cut as Typhoon Babs blasts Philippines, bears down on Manila

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — A typhoon with winds up to 130 mph battered the central Philippine coast on Wednesday, forcing large-scale power cuts and thousands of villagers to flee their homes.
Typhoon Babs, striking just a week after Typhoon Zeb killed 74 people in the northern Philippines, threatened to hit or pass near Manila on Thursday night if it maintained its present course, weather forecasters said. Manila is the country’s capital and largest city.
The typhoon was last reported at 225 miles southeast of Manila, weather forecaster Francis Araniador said.
Heavy rains and surging waves forced a halt to ferry service at several ports in Albay and Sorsogon provinces and stranded more than 2,000 passengers, said disaster official Jason Aragon.
Officials cut electricity to the island of Catanduanes and parts of Albay province to prevent electrocutions amid unconfirmed reports of rivers overflowing and landslides, he said.
Authorities lost contact with many remote areas because of downed telephone lines and were calling on amateur radio operators for help.
Congressman Francis Joseph Escudero of Sorsogon said thousands of people were evacuated from several coastal villages and taken to temporary shelters.
There were no immediate reports of casualties.
Babs is the ninth storm to hit the country this season.
Typhoon Zeb, which also injured 129 people and left 37 other Filipinos missing last week, later ravaged Taiwan, killing 31, and went on to strike Japan, leaving 12 people dead there.