A southern Philippine diocese has urged residents to brace for the onslaught of a typhoon expected to hit the area on Nov. 21. Bishop Antonieto Cabajog of Surigao
said that while the effects of the storm have yet to be felt in his diocese, "everything is ready" to help anyone affected. "We are in place," he said, adding that diocesan social action centers and parishes were "all on standby." "We ask everybody to be alert," said the prelate. Surigao Diocese, in the north of Mindanao was one of the areas badly hit by Super Typhoon Haiyan
in 2013. The approaching typhoon, named "Samuel," is packing winds of up to 65 kilometres per hour and is expected to drop heavy rain over a large part of the central and southern Philippines in the next two days. Classes were suspended at many schools as local disaster response councils braced for the storm. In the Caraga region in Mindanao, at least 2,000 people fled their homes in landslide-prone areas. More than 400 passengers were stranded at the port in Surigao City after trips to other provinces were canceled. State weather bureau, Pagasa
, warned that moderate to heavy rain may trigger flash floods and landslides in parts of the southern and central Philippines because of the storm. Residents in those areas were told to be alert, especially if they live near rivers, in low-lying communities, or in mountainous regions. The storm is the Philippines' 19th typhoon this year. The country usually gets an average of 20 typhoons annually.