At least 16 people have been killed in the Philippines after the seasons strongest Typhoon made landfall in the early hours of Sunday morning. This follows 22 deaths during Typhoon Molave last week.
Winds of up to 225kmh (140 mph) have been recorded, with gusts up to 280 kph (174mph) reported in some outlets, alongside heavy rain, storm surges, flash floods, volcanic mudflows, landslides and power cuts. Peak speeds of 315kph (195mph), equivalent to a Force 5 Hurricane, were estimated prior to landfall.
Goni, known as Rolly in the Philippines, first hit Candidatures Island before heading onto the main Luzon Island, home to the capital, Manila which escaped the worst of the storm.
Estimates from civil defence officials put around 370,000 as being displaced and tens of thousands of homes destroyed.
Hardest hit appears to be Virac which may have suffered damage of up to 90% of the homes of the 70,000 residents.
The Philippines have already been heavily affected by COVID-19 with more than 385,000 confirmed cases and more than 7,250 deaths. This has made planning for Typhoons, common at this time of the year in the area, more complicated.
Despite this around 347,000 were evacuated from areas predicted to be hardest hit by Goni.
“Evacuating people is more difficult at this time because of COVID-19,” Bicol Regional Civil Defence spokesman Alexis Naz told AFP on Saturday.
Goni has now been downgraded to a Tropical Storm and is heading towards Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, there are fears that it may increase in strength again as it heads across the South China Sea.
Goni was the 18th tropical storm to hit the Philippines this year with another, Atsan, headed towards the country later in this week. Philippines average 20 typhoons every year.
Header picture of Candidatures in happier times and by L. on flickr
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