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Tens of Thousands Evacuate in Eastern Philippines as Typhoon Approaches

Philippine authorities are evacuating tens of thousands of people from their homes along the country's eastern coast as a strengthening typhoon approaches the region.

Authorities are focusing the evacuation on towns around the Mayon volcano in the Bicol region, southeast of Manila. They say Typhoon Mitag could trigger mud flows down the volcano's slopes and storm surges, engulfing nearby communities.

Mitag is moving west over the northwest Pacific with winds of more than 150 kilometers an hour. It is expected to reach the eastern Philippines on Saturday or Sunday.

The Philippine government is trying to avoid a repeat of a disaster in Bicol in November of last year, when volcanic mud flows triggered by Typhoon Durian killed 1,200 people.

Philippine President Gloria Arroyo cut short her attendance at an Asia summit in Singapore and flew home late Wednesday to prepare for the storm.

Another typhoon, Hagibis, is moving west over the South China sea toward Vietnam, after killing 13 people in the central and southern Philippines.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.