Typhoon Mangkhut bears down on millions in Philippines

A super typhoon roared toward the Philippines on Thursday, packing fierce winds and heavy rains that are expected to strike the disaster-prone nation at the weekend before moving on to China.

Typhoon Mangkhut, which has already blasted through the Northern Mariana Islands, is speeding across the Pacific with winds that can gust as high as 255 kilometres (160 miles) per hour.

Authorities said some 10 million people in the Philippines are in the storm's path, not including millions more in heavily-populated coastal China.

Thousands began evacuating in seaside areas of the northern tip of the main Philippine island of Luzon, where the storm is expected to make landfall on Saturday.

"The pre-emptive evacuation is going on in our coastal municipalities, the villages that are prone to storm surge," local government spokesman Rogelio Sending told.

"We are going to evacuate more."

An average of 20 typhoons and storms lash the Philippines each year, killing hundreds of people and leaving millions in near-perpetual poverty.

(Agencies)