MANILA, Philippines (AP) – A super typhoon hit the eastern Philippines with fierce winds early Sunday and an estimated one million people were evacuated on its intended path, including in the capital where the main international airport has been ordered to close
« There are so many people who are really in vulnerable areas, » said Ricardo Jalad, who heads the government disaster response agency. « We are expecting major damage »
Typhoon Goni struck the island province of Catanduanes at dawn with sustained winds of 225 kilometers (140 miles) per hour and gusts of 280 km / h (174 mph) It was blowing westward towards densely populated areas, including Manila, and rainy provinces still recovering from a typhoon that struck a week ago and killed at least 22 people
« In the next 12 hours, catastrophic high winds and intense to torrential rains associated with the region of the eye wall and internal bands of rain from the typhoon will be felt, » the Philippine Meteorological Agency said in an urgent notice.
He said Catanduanes and four other provinces would be the first to be hit, including Albay, where tens of thousands of villagers have been brought to safety, especially near the active Mayon volcano, where mudslides caused the died in past storms Residents have been warned of probable landslides, massive flooding, storm surges over 5 meters (16 feet) and a fierce wind that can blow the barracks
One of the most powerful typhoons in the world this year, Goni spoke of memories of Typhoon Haiyan in November 2013, which left more than 7,300 dead and missing, razed entire villages, swept away ships. inland and displaced more than 5 million people central Philippines
Jalad said nearly a million people had been pre-emptively moved to emergency shelters, mainly schools and government buildings He warned of storm surges that could flood coastal villages , including in Manila Bay
Forecasters said the eye of the typhoon could strike or graze metropolitan Manila, the densely populated capital region of more than 13 million people, from Sunday evening through Monday morning and asked the public to stand by. prepare for the worst The typhoon can weaken considerably after hitting the Sierra Madre mountain range, then crossing the main northern island of Luzon towards the South China Sea
Manila’s main airport was closed for 24 hours from Sunday to Monday and airlines canceled dozens of international and domestic flights Military and national police, along with coast guards and firefighters, were put on alert
About 1,000 COVID-19 patients have been transferred to hospitals and hotels from quarantine and tented treatment centers in the capital and northern Bulacan province, Jalad said. emergency would be opened than usual to avoid congestion which can quickly trigger infections
The war-like typhoon preparations will put additional strain on government resources, which have been depleted by months of coronavirus outbreaks that have prompted the government to set up isolation and treatment centers when hospitals were overwhelmed and providing aid to over 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
Displaced villagers may have to stay in evacuation centers longer, even after Goni was released on Tuesday due to another brewing storm in the Pacific that could affect the Philippines in days, Jalad said.
The Philippines is hit by around 20 typhoons and storms per year It is also located in the so-called « ring of fire » of the Pacific, a seismically active region around the Pacific where earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are common and make impoverished Southeast Asian nation of over 100 million people one of the most disaster-prone
Tropical cyclone, Philippines, PAGASA, typhoon
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