A powerful typhoon has made landfall in the Philippines sparking the evacuation of more than half a million people. Typhoon Melor, locally known as Nona, strengthened considerably over the weekend and reached the eastern island of Samar on the morning of 14 December, bringing heavy rains and gusting at 185 kilometres (115 miles) per hour.

Authorities warned storm surges could reach four metres (13 feet) in coastal areas of Samar and nearby Sorsogon Island, where Melor is expected to make a second landfall. Hundreds of thousands of people have been evacuated in six provinces of the archipelago nation, as the weather bureau warned of possible flash floods and landslide.

The national disaster monitoring office said 600,000 residents were moved to safety from mudslide-prone communities near the Mayon Volcano in Sorsogon's Albay province. Dozens of flights were cancelled and thousands of travellers were stranded at different ports as ferry services were also suspended.

Most schools and shops remained closed as civil defence officials said relief goods, including some 200,000 food packs have been put in place. West-moving Melor is expected to pass south of Manila on 15 December before leaving landmass a day later.

Some of the affected areas were devastated by another massive typhoon, Typhoon Haiyan, which killed more than 7,000 people in 2013. The Philippines is lashed by about 20 large storms every year.