World

Approaching Philippine typhoon brings back nightmares in central region devastated by Haiyan

  • Alexander Pama, chief of the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council, points to the satellite image of Typhoon Hagupit which is brewing over the Pacific Ocean during a media briefing on the Government agency's readiness in dealing with a possible strong weather disturbance Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014 at suburban Quezon city northeast of Manila, Philippines. The Philippines weather bureau is advising the public to brace for Typhoon Hagupit which continues to gead towards the central Philippines and looking at the possibility it might hit the same areas as super Typhoon Haiyan which devastated Tacloban last year. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

    Alexander Pama, chief of the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council, points to the satellite image of Typhoon Hagupit which is brewing over the Pacific Ocean during a media briefing on the Government agency's readiness in dealing with a possible strong weather disturbance Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014 at suburban Quezon city northeast of Manila, Philippines. The Philippines weather bureau is advising the public to brace for Typhoon Hagupit which continues to gead towards the central Philippines and looking at the possibility it might hit the same areas as super Typhoon Haiyan which devastated Tacloban last year. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)  (The Associated Press)

  • This image captured by NASA's Aqua satellite shows Typhoon Hagupit on Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014 at 04:30 UTC in the western Pacific Ocean. The Philippines weather bureau is advising the public to brace for Typhoon Hagupit which continues to head towards the central Philippines and looking at the possibility it might hit the same areas as super Typhoon Haiyan which devastated Tacloban last year. (AP Photo/NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response)

    This image captured by NASA's Aqua satellite shows Typhoon Hagupit on Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014 at 04:30 UTC in the western Pacific Ocean. The Philippines weather bureau is advising the public to brace for Typhoon Hagupit which continues to head towards the central Philippines and looking at the possibility it might hit the same areas as super Typhoon Haiyan which devastated Tacloban last year. (AP Photo/NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response)  (The Associated Press)

  • This image captured by NASA's Aqua satellite shows Typhoon Hagupit on Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014 at 04:30 UTC in the western Pacific Ocean. The Philippines weather bureau is advising the public to brace for Typhoon Hagupit which continues to head towards the central Philippines and looking at the possibility it might hit the same areas as super Typhoon Haiyan which devastated Tacloban last year. (AP Photo/NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response)

    This image captured by NASA's Aqua satellite shows Typhoon Hagupit on Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014 at 04:30 UTC in the western Pacific Ocean. The Philippines weather bureau is advising the public to brace for Typhoon Hagupit which continues to head towards the central Philippines and looking at the possibility it might hit the same areas as super Typhoon Haiyan which devastated Tacloban last year. (AP Photo/NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response)  (The Associated Press)

Government forecasters say a powerful storm will likely slam into the same central Philippine region smothered by Typhoon Haiyan last year, prompting villagers to flee from coastal homes and sparking panic-buying of food, water and gasoline.

Forecasters said Thursday that Typhoon Hagupit, which was packing sustained winds of 195 kilometers per hour (122 mph) and gusts of up to 230 kph, may hit Eastern Samar province on Saturday and barrel inland along the same route, where Haiyan leveled entire villages and left more than 7,300 dead and missing in November last year.

Haiyan survivor Emily Sagales says many of her neighbors in central Tacloban city have fled to a sports stadium, adding long lines have formed in grocery stores and gas stations as residents braced for the storm.