Typhoon kills 20 in Philippines, spares Manila

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Typhoon kills 20 in Philippines, spares Manila
A resident carries a tank of liquified petroleum gas as he negotiates a flooded area while Typhoon Rammasun nears suburban Quezon city, Philippines on Wednesday, July 16, 2014. Typhoon Rammasun knocked out power in many areas but it spared the Philippine capital, Manila, and densely-populated northern provinces from being directly battered Wednesday when its fierce wind shifted slightly away, officials said. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
A motorist (C) brave strong winds and rain as he travels along a highway as Typhoon Rammasun barrels across Manila on July 16, 2014. Typhoon Rammasun shut down the Philippine capital on July 16 as authorities said the first major storm of the country's brutal rainy season claimed at least one life and forced hundreds of thousands to evacuate. AFP PHOTO/TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
People play near a damaged sea wall as Typhoon Rammasun hit Metro Manila on July 16, 2014. Typhoon Rammasun shut down the Philippine capital on July 16 as authorities said the first major storm of the country's brutal rainy season claimed at least four lives and forced hundreds of thousands to evacuate. AFP PHOTO / Jay DIRECTO (Photo credit should read JAY DIRECTO/AFP/Getty Images)
Workers pile sand bags along the sea wall of Roxas Boulevard as Typhoon Rammasun hit Metro Manila on July 16, 2014. Typhoon Rammasun shut down the Philippine capital on July 16 as authorities said the first major storm of the country's brutal rainy season claimed at least four lives and forced hundreds of thousands to evacuate. AFP PHOTO / Jay DIRECTO (Photo credit should read JAY DIRECTO/AFP/Getty Images)
Workers pile sand bags along the sea wall of Roxas Boulevard as Typhoon Rammasun hit Metro Manila on July 16, 2014. Typhoon Rammasun shut down the Philippine capital on July 16 as authorities said the first major storm of the country's brutal rainy season claimed at least four lives and forced hundreds of thousands to evacuate. AFP PHOTO / Jay DIRECTO (Photo credit should read JAY DIRECTO/AFP/Getty Images)
Vehicles drive along Roxas Boulevard as Typhoon Rammasun hit Metro Manila on July 16, 2014. Typhoon Rammasun shut down the Philippine capital on July 16 as authorities said the first major storm of the country's brutal rainy season claimed at least four lives and forced hundreds of thousands to evacuate. AFP PHOTO / Jay DIRECTO (Photo credit should read JAY DIRECTO/AFP/Getty Images)
Vehicles drive along Roxas Boulevard as Typhoon Rammasun hit Metro Manila on July 16, 2014. Typhoon Rammasun shut down the Philippine capital on July 16 as authorities said the first major storm of the country's brutal rainy season claimed at least four lives and forced hundreds of thousands to evacuate. AFP PHOTO / Jay DIRECTO (Photo credit should read JAY DIRECTO/AFP/Getty Images)
A man walks through heavy wind and rain as Typhoon Rammasun barrels across Manila on July 16, 2014. Typhoon Rammasun shut down the Philippine capital on July 16 as authorities said the first major storm of the country's brutal rainy season claimed at least one life and forced hundreds of thousands to evacuate. AFP PHOTO / Jay DIRECTO (Photo credit should read JAY DIRECTO/AFP/Getty Images)
Vehicles pass by fallen trees along Roxas Boulevard as Typhoon Rammasun hit Metro Manila on July 16, 2014. Typhoon Rammasun shut down the Philippine capital on July 16 as authorities said the first major storm of the country's brutal rainy season claimed at least four lives and forced hundreds of thousands to evacuate. AFP PHOTO / Jay DIRECTO (Photo credit should read JAY DIRECTO/AFP/Getty Images)
People queue for food at a basketball arena used as a shelter after they evacuated their homes in Manila on July 16, 2014. Typhoon Rammasun shut down the Philippine capital on July 16 as authorities said the first major storm of the country's brutal rainy season claimed at least four lives and forced hundreds of thousands to evacuate. AFP PHOTO / Jay DIRECTO (Photo credit should read JAY DIRECTO/AFP/Getty Images)
UPDATES to clarify wind damage range; map shows path of Typhoon Rammasun compared to 2013 Typhoon Haiyan.
People gather at a basketball arena used as a shelter after they evacuated their homes in Manila on July 16, 2014. Typhoon Rammasun shut down the Philippine capital on July 16 as authorities said the first major storm of the country's brutal rainy season claimed at least four lives and forced hundreds of thousands to evacuate. AFP PHOTO / Jay DIRECTO (Photo credit should read JAY DIRECTO/AFP/Getty Images)
A resident fixes the roof of his house in the rain as Typhoon Rammasun barrels across Manila on July 16, 2014. Typhoon Rammasun shut down the Philippine capital on July 16 as authorities said the first major storm of the country's brutal rainy season claimed at least one life and forced hundreds of thousands to evacuate. AFP PHOTO / TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
Residents try to fix the roofs of their homes in the wind and rain as Typhoon Rammasun barrels across Manila on July 16, 2014. Typhoon Rammasun shut down the Philippine capital on July 16 as authorities said the first major storm of the country's brutal rainy season claimed at least one life and forced hundreds of thousands to evacuate. AFP PHOTO / TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
Cars are pinned downed by uprooted trees near a posh subdivision as Typhoon Rammasun barrels across Manila on July 16, 2014. Typhoon Rammasun shut down the Philippine capital on July 16 as authorities said the first major storm of the country's brutal rainy season claimed at least one life and forced hundreds of thousands to evacuate. AFP PHOTO / TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
Evacuees are seen at the basketball court turn into a evacuation center in Manila on July 16, 2014. Typhoon Rammasun shut down the Philippine capital on Wednesday as authorities said the first major storm of the country's brutal rainy season claimed at least four lives and forced hundreds of thousands to evacuate. AFP PHOTO / Jay DIRECTO (Photo credit should read JAY DIRECTO/AFP/Getty Images)
A boy carries a plastic bag filled with belongings as residents evacuate from their homes as Typhoon Rammasun barrels across Manila on July 16, 2014. Typhoon Rammasun shut down the Philippine capital on July 16 as authorities said the first major storm of the country's brutal rainy season claimed at least one life and forced hundreds of thousands to evacuate. AFP PHOTO / TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
People gather at a basketball arena used as a shelter after they evacuated their homes in Manila on July 16, 2014. Typhoon Rammasun shut down the Philippine capital on July 16 as authorities said the first major storm of the country's brutal rainy season claimed at least four lives and forced hundreds of thousands to evacuate. AFP PHOTO / Jay DIRECTO (Photo credit should read JAY DIRECTO/AFP/Getty Images)
Motorists speed past uprooted trees along a road as Typhoon Rammasun barrels across Manila on July 16, 2014. Typhoon Rammasun shut down the Philippine capital on July 16 as authorities said the first major storm of the country's brutal rainy season claimed at least one life and forced hundreds of thousands to evacuate. AFP PHOTO / TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
Residents cross a flooded street to an evacuation center as Typhoon Rammasun barrels across Manila on July 16, 2014. Typhoon Rammasun shut down the Philippine capital on July 16 as authorities said the first major storm of the country's brutal rainy season claimed at least one life and forced hundreds of thousands to evacuate. AFP PHOTO / TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
Pedestrians walk past uprooted trees along a highway as Typhoon Rammasun barrels across Manila on July 16, 2014. Typhoon Rammasun shut down the Philippine capital on July 16 as authorities said the first major storm of the country's brutal rainy season claimed at least one life and forced hundreds of thousands to evacuate. AFP PHOTO/TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
A Filipino resident takes pictures using her smartphone outside a flooded village as Typhoon Rammasun batters suburban Quezon city, north of Manila, Philippines on Wednesday, July 16, 2014. Typhoon Rammasun knocked out power in many areas but it spared the Philippine capital, Manila, and densely-populated northern provinces from being directly battered Wednesday when its fierce wind shifted slightly away, officials said. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
A fireman (R) helps a mother and her child evacuate from their house at an informal settlers' area as Typhoon Rammasun barrels across Manila on July 16, 2014. Typhoon Rammasun shut down the Philippine capital on July 16 as authorities said the first major storm of the country's brutal rainy season claimed at least one life and forced hundreds of thousands to evacuate. AFP PHOTO/TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
Motorists speed past uprooted trees along a road as Typhoon Rammasun barrels across Manila on July 16, 2014. Typhoon Rammasun shut down the Philippine capital on July 16 as authorities said the first major storm of the country's brutal rainy season claimed at least one life and forced hundreds of thousands to evacuate. AFP PHOTO / TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
People play near a damaged sea wall as Typhoon Rammasun hit Metro Manila on July 16, 2014. Typhoon Rammasun shut down the Philippine capital on July 16 as authorities said the first major storm of the country's brutal rainy season claimed at least four lives and forced hundreds of thousands to evacuate. AFP PHOTO / Jay DIRECTO (Photo credit should read JAY DIRECTO/AFP/Getty Images)
Residents brave strong winds and rain as they evacuate from their homes at an informal settlers' area as Typhoon Rammasun barrels across Manila on July 16, 2014. Typhoon Rammasun shut down the Philippine capital on July 16 as authorities said the first major storm of the country's brutal rainy season claimed at least one life and forced hundreds of thousands to evacuate. AFP PHOTO/TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
A father leads his children to an ambulance as residents at an informal settlers' area are evacuated from their homes as Typhoon Rammasun barrels across Manila on July 16, 2014. Typhoon Rammasun shut down the Philippine capital on July 16 as authorities said the first major storm of the country's brutal rainy season claimed at least one life and forced hundreds of thousands to evacuate. AFP PHOTO/TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
A village official leads a child as he is evacuated from their house at an informal settlers' area as Typhoon Rammasun barrels across Manila on July 16, 2014. Typhoon Rammasun shut down the Philippine capital on July 16 as authorities said the first major storm of the country's brutal rainy season claimed at least one life and forced hundreds of thousands to evacuate. AFP PHOTO/TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
Residents of the slum community of Baseco evacuate to safer grounds at the onslaught of typhoon Rammasun in Manila Wednesday, July 16, 2014 in Manila, Philippines. Typhoon Rammasun left at least seven people dead and knocked out power in many areas Wednesday but the Philippine capital and densely populated northern provinces were spared a direct battering when its fierce winds shifted slightly.(AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
A couple with there belongings move to safer ground as Typhoon Rammasun barrels across Manila on July 16, 2014. Typhoon Rammasun shut down the Philippine capital on July 16 as authorities said the first major storm of the country's brutal rainy season claimed at least one life and forced hundreds of thousands to evacuate. AFP PHOTO / Jay DIRECTO (Photo credit should read JAY DIRECTO/AFP/Getty Images)
People gather at a basketball arena used as a shelter after they evacuated their homes in Manila on July 16, 2014. Typhoon Rammasun shut down the Philippine capital on July 16 as authorities said the first major storm of the country's brutal rainy season claimed at least four lives and forced hundreds of thousands to evacuate. AFP PHOTO / Jay DIRECTO (Photo credit should read JAY DIRECTO/AFP/Getty Images)
People rest at a basketball arena used as a shelter after they evacuated their homes in Manila on July 16, 2014. Typhoon Rammasun shut down the Philippine capital on July 16 as authorities said the first major storm of the country's brutal rainy season claimed at least four lives and forced hundreds of thousands to evacuate. AFP PHOTO / Jay DIRECTO (Photo credit should read JAY DIRECTO/AFP/Getty Images)
People gather at a basketball arena used as a shelter after they evacuated their homes in Manila on July 16, 2014. Typhoon Rammasun shut down the Philippine capital on July 16 as authorities said the first major storm of the country's brutal rainy season claimed at least four lives and forced hundreds of thousands to evacuate. AFP PHOTO / Jay DIRECTO (Photo credit should read JAY DIRECTO/AFP/Getty Images)
People gather at a basketball arena used as a shelter after they evacuated their homes in Manila on July 16, 2014. Typhoon Rammasun shut down the Philippine capital on July 16 as authorities said the first major storm of the country's brutal rainy season claimed at least four lives and forced hundreds of thousands to evacuate. AFP PHOTO / Jay DIRECTO (Photo credit should read JAY DIRECTO/AFP/Getty Images)
An elderly man uses a rubber mat to cover himself as he braves strong wind and rain along a road as Typhoon Rammasun barrels across Manila on July 16, 2014. Typhoon Rammasun shut down the Philippine capital on July 16 as authorities said the first major storm of the country's brutal rainy season claimed at least one life and forced hundreds of thousands to evacuate. AFP PHOTO / TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
Cars are pinned downed by uprooted trees near a posh subdivision as Typhoon Rammasun barrels across Manila on July 16, 2014. Typhoon Rammasun shut down the Philippine capital on July 16 as authorities said the first major storm of the country's brutal rainy season claimed at least one life and forced hundreds of thousands to evacuate. AFP PHOTO / TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
MANILA, PHILIPPINES - 2014/07/16: Street dwellers of Manila City found a temporary shelter on the underpass of Lawton in Manila City during Typhoon Glenda's (international name: Rammasun) strike on Metro Manila. (Photo by Gregorio B. Dantes Jr./Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
MANILA, PHILIPPINES - 2014/07/16: The Public Safety Department of MMDA make a clearing operation of a fallen tree along Marcos Highway in Santolan, Pasig City during Typhoon Glenda's (international name: Rammasun) striking on Metro Manila. (Photo by Gregorio B. Dantes Jr./Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
MANILA, PHILIPPINES - 2014/07/16: The Public Safety Department of MMDA make a clearing operation of a fallen tree along Marcos Highway in Santolan, Pasig City during Typhoon Glenda's (international name: Rammasun) striking on Metro Manila. (Photo by Gregorio B. Dantes Jr./Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
MANILA, PHILIPPINES - 2014/07/16: The Public Safety Department of MMDA make a clearing operation of a fallen tree along Marcos Highway in Santolan, Pasig City during Typhoon Glenda's (international name: Rammasun) striking on Metro Manila. (Photo by Gregorio B. Dantes Jr./Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Motorists speed past uprooted trees along a highway as Typhoon Rammasun barrels across Manila on July 16, 2014. Typhoon Rammasun shut down the Philippine capital on July 16 as authorities said the first major storm of the country's brutal rainy season claimed at least one life and forced hundreds of thousands to evacuate. AFP PHOTO/TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
SULTAN KUDARAT, MINDANAO, PHILIPPINES - JULY 15: Residents cross a flooded road on July 15, 2014 in Sultan Kudarat, Mindanao, Philippines. Thousands of people have been fleeing coastal areas of Philippines as the first major typhoon of the season is expected to make landfall this evening. Typhoon Rammasun is heading towards eastern Philippines and is likely to pass over the capital city Manila on its way through the country. (Photo by Jeoffrey Maitem/Getty Images)
Residents brave strong winds and rain as they evacuate from their homes at an informal settlers' area as Typhoon Rammasun barrels across Manila on July 16, 2014. Typhoon Rammasun shut down the Philippine capital on July 16 as authorities said the first major storm of the country's brutal rainy season claimed at least one life and forced hundreds of thousands to evacuate. AFP PHOTO/TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
SULTAN KUDARAT, MINDANAO, PHILIPPINES - JULY 15: Rains brought about by bad weather caused flooding on July 15, 2014 in Sultan Kudarat, Mindanao, Philippines. Thousands of people have been fleeing coastal areas of Philippines as the first major typhoon of the season is expected to make landfall this evening. Typhoon Rammasun is heading towards eastern Philippines and is likely to pass over the capital city Manila on its way through the country. (Photo by Jeoffrey Maitem/Getty Images)
SULTAN KUDARAT, MINDANAO, PHILIPPINES - JULY 15: Rains brought about by bad weather caused flooding on July 15, 2014 in Sultan Kudarat, Mindanao, Philippines. Thousands of people have been fleeing coastal areas of Philippines as the first major typhoon of the season is expected to make landfall this evening. Typhoon Rammasun is heading towards eastern Philippines and is likely to pass over the capital city Manila on its way through the country. (Photo by Jeoffrey Maitem/Getty Images)
SULTAN KUDARAT, MINDANAO, PHILIPPINES - JULY 15: Rains brought about by bad weather caused flooding on July 15, 2014 in Sultan Kudarat, Mindanao, Philippines. Thousands of people have been fleeing coastal areas of Philippines as the first major typhoon of the season is expected to make landfall this evening. Typhoon Rammasun is heading towards eastern Philippines and is likely to pass over the capital city Manila on its way through the country. (Photo by Jeoffrey Maitem/Getty Images)
A man salvages what is left of his makeshift house as Typhoon Rammasun batters suburban Navotas, north of Manila, Philippines on Wednesday, July 16, 2014. Typhoon Rammasun knocked out power in many areas but it spared the Philippine capital, Manila, and densely-populated northern provinces from being directly battered Wednesday when its fierce wind shifted slightly away, officials said. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
Young residents look at the remains of damaged homes as Typhoon Rammasun batters suburban Navotas, north of Manila, Philippines on Wednesday, July 16, 2014. Typhoon Rammasun knocked out power in many areas but it spared the Philippine capital, Manila, and densely-populated northern provinces from being directly battered Wednesday when its fierce wind shifted slightly away, officials said. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
Residents of the slum community of Baseco evacuate to safer grounds at the onslaught of typhoon Rammasun which battered Manila, Philippines Wednesday, July 16, 2014. Typhoon Rammasun knocked out power in many areas but it spared the Philippine capital, Manila, and densely-populated northern provinces from being directly battered Wednesday when its fierce wind shifted slightly away, officials said. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
A father and his son evacuate to safer grounds as Typhoon Rammasun battered Manila, Philippines, Wednesday, July 16, 2014. Rammasun left at least seven people dead and knocked out power in many areas but it spared the Philippine capital and densely populated northern provinces from being directly battered Wednesday when its fierce wind shifted slightly away, officials said. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
Residents at the slum community of Baseco evacuate to safer grounds at the onslaught of Typhoon Rammasun (locally known as Glenda) which battered Manila Wednesday, July 16, 2014, in Manila, Philippines. Typhoon Rammasun left at least seven people dead and knocked out power in many areas but it spared the Philippine capital, Manila, and densely populated northern provinces from being directly battered Wednesday when its fierce wind shifted slightly away, officials said. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
A resident of the slum community of Baseco evacuates to safer grounds as Typhoon Rammasun battered Manila, Philippines, Wednesday, July 16, 2014. Rammasun knocked out power in many areas but it spared the Philippine capital and densely populated northern provinces from being directly battered Wednesday when its fierce wind shifted slightly away, officials said. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
Residents of the slum community of Baseco evacuate to safer grounds as Typhoon Rammasun battered Manila, Philippines, Wednesday, July 16, 2014. Rammasun knocked out power in many areas but it spared the Philippine capital and densely populated northern provinces from being directly battered Wednesday when its fierce wind shifted slightly away, officials said. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
Residents at the slum community of Baseco line up to board an ambulance as they are evacuated to safer grounds at the onslaught of typhoon Rammasun Wednesday, July 16, 2014 in Manila, Philippines. Typhoon Rammasun left at least seven people dead and knocked out power in many areas Wednesday but the Philippine capital and densely populated northern provinces were spared a direct battering when its fierce winds shifted slightly.(AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
Residents strengthen their homes built on stilts as they brace for incoming Typhoon Rammasun, beside Manila's bay, Philippines on Tuesday, July 15, 2014. Haunted by the memories of Typhoon Haiyan’s deadly fury last year, tens of thousands of villagers fled from disaster-prone areas Tuesday as Typhoon Rammasun blew closer toward the northeastern Philippines, where it was expected to hit land at nightfall then barrel its way in the dark across densely-populated regions toward the capital, Manila. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
Residents wade through floods as they go back to their home while Typhoon Rammasun batters suburban Quezon city, north of Manila, Philippines on Wednesday, July 16, 2014. Typhoon Rammasun knocked out power in many areas but it spared the Philippine capital, Manila, and densely-populated northern provinces from being directly battered Wednesday when its fierce wind shifted slightly away, officials said. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
Filipino children play with a bathtub along flooded roads as Typhoon Rammasun batters suburban Navotas, north of Manila, Philippines on Wednesday, July 16, 2014. Typhoon Rammasun knocked out power in many areas but it spared the Philippine capital, Manila, and densely-populated northern provinces from being directly battered Wednesday when its fierce wind shifted slightly away, officials said. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
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By JIM GOMEZ and OLIVER TEVES

MANILA, Philippines (AP) -- A typhoon blew out of the northern Philippines on Wednesday after causing at least 20 deaths, knocking out power in entire provinces, damaging two parked jetliners and forcing nearly half a million people to flee from its lethal wind and rains, officials said.

The eye of Typhoon Rammasun made a late shift away from Manila, but its peak winds of 150 kilometers (93 miles) per hour and gusts up to 185 kph (115 mph) forced down trees and electric posts and ripped off roofs across the capital of 12 million people that largely shut down ahead of the deluge.

Although Rammasun packed far less power than Typhoon Haiyan, haunting memories of last year's horrific storm devastation prompted many villagers to rapidly move to safety at the prodding of authorities. Of the half a million people affected by Rammasun, more than 423,000 fled to emergency shelters, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

In a shantytown at the edge of Manila Bay, hundreds of people fled when strong winds started to tear tin roofs off their shanties. Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada said his city staged anti-disaster drills two weeks ago precisely to prevent massive deaths during a catastrophe and he was relieved that only a few residents sustained injuries Wednesday.

While the low human toll has been attributed to the typhoon skipping Manila, Estrada believed the public's higher awareness of anti-disaster maneuvers saved many lives. He acknowledged that the wind and rain weren't as deadly as many have feared and it was a good time for everyone to hone their survival skills.

"It was like a drill," Estrada told The Associated Press.

Officials reported at least 20 deaths elsewhere, mostly people pinned by falling trees and electrical posts. A fire volunteer died when he was hit by a block of concrete while hauling down a Philippine flag in suburban Pasig city, said Francis Tolentino, chairman of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority.

Three fishermen were reported missing in Catanduanes, near Albay province, where Rammasun made landfall late Tuesday.

At Manila's international airport, the left wing of a Singapore Airlines Boeing 777 was damaged after strong gusts pushed it against a bridge passageway, manager Angel Honrado said. No one was injured.

One other parked jetliner reportedly sustained minor damages.

There were no immediate estimates of the damage in many communities that lost power and telephone connections.

Polangui Mayor Cherilie Mella Sampal said 10,000 of the 80,000 residents in her Albay town, about 340 kilometers (210 miles) southeast of Manila, abandoned their homes before the typhoon, many of them worried after witnessing Haiyan's deadly aftermath in the central Philippines last November.

At least 6,300 people died and more than 1,000 were left missing from Haiyan, one of the most ferocious typhoons to hit land.

"We're used to and prepared for calamities," Sampal said. "But when people heard that the eye of the typhoon will hit the province, they feared we may end up like the victims" of Haiyan.

Although Rammasun slightly weakened as it scythed across the country's main northern region, it may strengthen over the South China Sea before slamming either Vietnam or southern China, according to government forecasters.

Rammasun, the Thai term for god of thunder, is the seventh storm to batter the Philippines this year. About 20 typhoons and storms lash the archipelago on the western edge of the Pacific each year, making it one of the world's most disaster-prone countries.

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Associated Press writer Teresa Cerojano contributed to this report.

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