The Philippines evacuates nearly a million people as the world’s strongest typhoon approaches 2020

The Philippines evacuates nearly a million people as the world's strongest typhoon approaches 2020

Officials evacuated nearly a million residents in the southern part of the main island of Luzon in the Philippines, as a Category 5 storm – the strongest in the world this year – made landfall on Sunday.

State disaster and weather officials said that Hurricane Goni, which has a speed of 215 kilometers per hour and storms up to 265 kilometers per hour, will bring violent winds and rain.

It is among the strongest typhoons to hit the Philippines since Haiyan, which killed more than 6,300 people in 2013.

“We are going through tough times with Covid-19, and then another disaster comes,” Senator Christopher Joe, a senior aide to President Rodrigo Duterte, said at a virtual press conference.

He said local executives should ensure that the virus does not spread in evacuation centers.

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Ricardo Gallad, executive director of the National Disaster Agency, said at a press conference that officials had begun preemptive evacuations, as Alpay County relocated 794,000 residents to safety.

In the capital Manila and neighboring Bulacan Province, nearly 1,000 patients infected with the emerging coronavirus, who are staying in large isolation tents, could be transferred to hotels and hospitals, he said.

The Philippines has the second highest number of COVID-19 infections and deaths in Southeast Asia, after Indonesia, with 380,729 cases and 7,221 deaths.

Typhoon Goni is approaching the Philippines.(CIRA / Colorado State University)

Last week, Hurricane Mulaf killed 22 people, most of them drowned in southern Manila provinces, which are also on the projected path of Goni, the country’s 18th tropical storm this year.

Local officials canceled port operations and prohibited fishermen from sailing. Airlines canceled dozens of flights.

Hurricane Goni, moving west from the Pacific Ocean, will bring torrential rain to the capital and 21 neighboring counties early Sunday (local time), and threats of flooding and landslides.

Another hurricane, Atsane, with winds of 55 km / h and gusts of up to 70 km / h, is gaining strength outside the Philippines.

Residents in traffic during a flood in the Philippines.
Passengers in the northern Philippines sail in a flood caused by Typhoon Mulaf.(AP: Aaron Favela)

The Philippines is hit annually by an average of 20 typhoons, which cause torrential rains that lead to deadly landslides.

Reuters

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