The strongest storm in the world in 2020 caused landfall in the Philippines, bringing violent “catastrophic” winds and reports of deaths as it moved towards the capital, Manila.
the main points:
- Hurricane Gony was packing winds equivalent to a Category 5 hurricane when it made landfall
- A government official said there are many more people in high-risk areas than the expected path
- Parts of the country are still recovering from the hurricane that struck a week ago
Hurricane Goni has been downgraded from strong hurricane to hurricane status as it weakened slightly on Sunday afternoon.
But the nation’s disaster management agency said between 19 million and 31 million people could be affected by the storm.
The storm, called Typhoon Rolly in the Philippines, was equivalent to a Category 5 hurricane when it first made landfall in Catanduanes and Alpay in the Bicol region.
Soon the winds reached 310 kilometers per hour when they first struck, weakening slightly to winds of 290 kilometers per hour in the afternoon.
Provincial Governor Francis Bechara said that four deaths have been reported in the Bicol region, including one person who was hit by a tree and bulldozed a five-year-old child after a river overflowed.
The disaster management agency was unable to confirm the report.
The head of disaster management Ricardo Gallad said about 347,000 people were in evacuation centers, reducing the number that the agency reported the previous day by about one million.
In Quezon, Governor Danilo Suarez said power was cut in 10 towns after Goni knocked down trees.
The local meteorological office said that “catastrophic violent winds and torrential rains” were expected to prevail over parts of Camarens Sur, Marendoc, Quezon, Laguna, Batangas and Cavite.
“This is a particularly dangerous situation for these areas,” she said in the bulletin.
The storm was blowing west toward densely populated areas, including Manila, and rain-hit provinces are still recovering from a hurricane that struck a week ago and left at least 22 dead.
“There are a lot of people who are already in the areas at risk,” Jallad said earlier.
We expect great damage. “
Johnny is among the strongest typhoons to hit the Philippines since Haiyan, which killed more than 6,300 people in 2013.
Manila’s main airport was ordered to close for 24 hours from Sunday to Monday, and airlines canceled dozens of international and domestic flights.
The Army and National Police, along with the Coast Guard and firefighters, have been put on high alert.
Meteorologists said the hurricane was expected to patronize 70 km south of the capital Manila, the densely populated capital of more than 13 million people, on Sunday evening.
Coronavirus patients moved as the storm descended
Alerts have been issued about the outbreak of storms, while officials have also reminded those in evacuation centers to monitor social distancing as the spread of the Coronavirus has been a concern as well.
Glad said that about 1,000 Covid-19 patients have been transferred to hospitals and hotels from quarantine and treatment centers in the capital and North Bulacan Province.
More emergency shelters will be opened than usual to avoid overcrowding that can quickly lead to infection.
Preparations for the war-like hurricane will strain government resources, which have been depleted with months of the coronavirus outbreak that have prompted the government to set up isolation and treatment centers when hospitals were overwhelmed and provide assistance to more than 20 million poor Filipinos.
The Philippines has reported more than 380,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the second highest in Southeast Asia, with 7,221 deaths.
Jallad said displaced villagers may have to stay longer in evacuation centers even after Goni exits on Tuesday due to another storm brewing in the Pacific Ocean that could affect the Philippines in a few days.
ABC / wire
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