Neil Jerome Morales
Manila (Reuters)-Philippine officials on Saturday ordered the evacuation of thousands of residents in southern Luzon, which is the strongest Category 5 storm in the world this year.
Typhoon Goni, with sustained wind speeds of 215 km/h (133 miles) and gusts of up to 265 km/h (164 mph), will make landfall on Sunday, the strongest since Haiyan hit the Philippines in November 2013 The typhoon killed more than 600 people.
The local disaster manager Gremil Naz told DZBB radio station that priority evacuation has begun in the coastal areas and landslide-prone communities in Camarines Norte and Camarines Sur provinces, and the Albay provincial government will order the danger Residents of the area leave their homes. . “The power of this typhoon is not a joke.”
Last week, Typhoon Molave killed 22 people, mainly through drowning in a province south of the capital Manila, which is also on the projected path of the country’s 18th tropical storm Goni.
The authorities are facing another obstacle because of the need to implement social distancing in evacuation centers to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The number of COVID-19 infections and deaths in the Philippines ranks second in Southeast Asia, after Indonesia.
Filipino Grace America, the mayor of Infanta Township in Quezon Province, told DZBB Radio that relief supplies, heavy machinery and personal protective equipment are already located in key areas. “But due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have insufficient funds for disasters and expenses.”
Local officials cancelled port operations and prohibited fishermen from setting sail.
Typhoon Goni is moving westward from the Pacific Ocean at a speed of 20 km/h (12 mph) and will bring heavy rains in the capital and 14 nearby provinces on Saturday night, as well as threats of flooding and landslides.
Another typhoon, Atsani, is gaining strength outside the Philippines. About 20 typhoons hit the Philippines every year.
(This story changes the Haiyan year in paragraph 2 to 2013 instead of 2014)
(Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales; Editing by Michael Perry)