World News – UA – Typhoon Goni: Philippines braces for world’s strongest storm of 2020


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Typhoon Goni is expected to be the strongest storm to hit the Philippines since Haiyan killed more than 6,300 people in November 2013

Nearly one million people in the Philippines were evacuated from their homes on Saturday as the strongest typhoon of the year to date swept through the country, authorities warning of « destructive » winds and floods

Typhoon Goni is expected to make landfall on Catanduanes Island on Sunday morning with wind speeds of up to 205 kilometers per hour (127 miles per hour) before passing through the main island of Luzon, the national meteorologist

It comes a week after Typhoon Molave ​​struck the same disaster-prone area of ​​the archipelago, killing 22 people and flooding low-lying villages and farmland, before crossing the China Sea southern to Vietnam

« It looks like we will have very strong winds, increasing the risk of widespread flooding and landslides, » said Mark Timbal, spokesperson for the National Council for Disaster Risk Reduction and Management, at the local television channel ABS-CBN

« Storm surges are imminent on our east coast We are monitoring Mayon and Taal volcanoes for possible volcanic mud flows »

Civil Defense Chief Ricardo Jalad said « nearly a million » people had left their homes in the Bicol region, which includes the southern part of Luzon and Catanduanes

Authorities spent Saturday rounding up rescue vehicles, emergency response teams and relief workers before the typhoon

« High winds and heavy rains » expected to trigger floods and landslides in an area of ​​more than 20 million people, the weather service said

There was a « high risk » of storm surges over three meters (10 feet) high along parts of the coast, he added

Schools that have been empty since the start of the coronavirus pandemic are being used as emergency shelters as well as government-run evacuation centers and gymnasiums

« The evacuation of people is more difficult at the moment because of the Covid-19, » Bicol regional civil defense spokesperson Alexis Naz told AFP

Mary Ann Echague, 23, and her family fled their home in the coastal town of Legazpi in Bicol to a primary school in the interior of the country where they took refuge in a classroom with several other families

« We fear the wrath of the typhoon, » said Echague, who was with her two children, parents and siblings They took with them a portable stove, canned meat, instant noodles, coffee, bread, blankets and pillows

« Every time we get hit by a typhoon, our house is damaged because it is made of wood and galvanized iron roofing, » she said

Hundreds of people were stranded after the coast guard ordered ferries and fishing boats in the harbor awaiting rough seas projecting 15-meter waves

Goni is expected to « weaken considerably » as it crosses Luzon and enters the South China Sea on Monday morning, state forecaster said

The Philippines is hit on average by 20 storms and typhoons each year, which typically destroy crops, homes and infrastructure, keeping millions of people eternally poor

Its deadliest on record was Super Typhoon Haiyan, which unleashed giant waves in the central city of Tacloban and left more than 7,300 dead or missing in 2013

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Tropical cyclone, typhoon, PAGASA, Philippines

World news – UA – Typhoon Goni: Philippines braces for world’s strongest storm of 2020