MANILA — One of the most powerful storms in recent history ripped through the Philippines Friday morning, killing at least one person, forcing the evacuation of thousands and putting millions of people at risk, officials said.
Super Typhoon Haiyan, called Yolanda in the Philippines, slammed into the island of Samar, on the eastern edge of the Philippines, early Friday morning. It is expected to grind westward throughout the day and leave the country by Friday evening.
The storm is on a path to continue onto Vietnam in the next few days, according to the United States Navy's Joint Typhoon Warning Center, in Honolulu.
In the Philippines, the storm lashed fragile, impoverished communities with sustained winds of 145 miles an hour and gusts of up to 170 miles an hour.
A woman on the island of Cebu was killed when she was hit by a falling tree, the Philippine Information Agency reported Friday afternoon. At least 125,000 people were evacuated from their homes, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council. Many were housed in evacuation centers before the storm barreled in.
Local radio and television stations reported downed power lines, impassible roads and flooding in some areas due to surging ocean water.
In a nationally televised address, President Benigno S. Aquino III asked Filipinos to prepare for the worst.
"Let us evacuate our homes if we are in danger zones," he said. "For those in coastal areas, don't venture out to sea. Let's not risk our lives and those of rescue teams."
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