Philippine authorities on Saturday ordered the evacuation of thousands of residents in the southern part of the main island of Luzon into a Category 5 hurricane, the strongest in the world to make landfall in Southeast Asia this year.
Typhoon Goni, with winds of 215 km / h and gusts of up to 265 km / h, will make landfall on Sunday as the strongest storm to hit the Philippines since Haiyan, which lost more than 6,300 lives in November 2013.
Preliminary evacuations have begun in coastal and landslide-prone areas in the provinces of Commarines Norte and Cameroon Sur, but local disaster officer Gremil Naz told DZBB radio that the Albe Provincial government is ordering people living in dangerous areas to evacuate their homes. “The strength of this storm is not a joke.”
Typhoon Molaw As many as 22 people were killed last week, mostly in the provinces south of the capital Manila, on the way to Goni, the country’s 18th tropical storm.
Authorities are facing another hurdle as they need to impose physical distance at evacuation centers to prevent the spread of coronavirus. The Philippines has the second highest number of COVID-19 infections and deaths in Southeast Asia, after Indonesia.
Relief supplies, heavy machinery and personal protective equipment are already in key areas, the mayor of Infanta in Quezon province told Filipino Grace America DZBB Radio. “But because of the COVID-19 pandemic, our funds are not enough to cover disaster concerns and costs.”
Local authorities canceled port operations and prevented fishermen from traveling.
Hurricane Goni, which is moving west from the Pacific Ocean at a speed of 20 km per hour, is expected to bring heavy rains to the capital and 14 nearby provinces on Saturday evening, causing floods and landslides.
Another typhoon, Atsani, is gaining strength outside the Philippines. Every year 20 hurricanes hit the Philippines.