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Minggu, 01 November 2020

Typhoon Goni brings 'catastrophic' winds as it makes landfall in the Philippines - ABC News

The world's strongest storm of 2020 has made landfall in the Philippines, bringing "catastrophic" violent winds and reports of deaths as it moves towards the capital Manila.

Typhoon Goni was downgraded from a super typhoon to typhoon status as it weakened slightly on Sunday afternoon.

But the country's disaster management agency said between 19 million and 31 million people could be affected by the storm.

The storm, called Typhoon Rolly in the Philippines, was equivalent to a category five cyclone when it first made landfall in Catanduanes and Albay in the Bicol region.

It had wind gusts of up to 310 kilometres per hour when it first struck, weakening slightly to wind gusts of 290kph in the afternoon.

Four deaths were reported in the Bicol region, provincial Governor Al Francis Bichara said, including one hit by a tree and a five-year-old washed away after a river overflowed.

The disaster management agency could not confirm the report.

About 347,000 people were in evacuation centres, disaster management chief Ricardo Jalad said, lowering the figure of nearly a million reported by the agency a day earlier.

In Quezon, Governor Danilo Suarez said power supply was cut in 10 towns as Goni toppled trees.

A family wearing face masks sits on a scooter in the rain.
Residents living along a coastal community evacuate from their home in Manila.(AP: Aaron Favila)

The local weather bureau said "catastrophic violent winds and intense to torrential rainfall" were expected to prevail over parts of Camarines Sur, Marinduque, Quezon, Laguna, Batangas and Cavite.

"This a particularly dangerous situation for these areas," it said in a bulletin.

The storm was blowing west toward densely populated regions, including Manila, and rain-soaked provinces still recovering from a typhoon that hit a week ago and left at least 22 people dead.

"There are so many people who are really in vulnerable areas," Mr Jalad said earlier.

"We're expecting major damage."

A satellite image of a large typhoon over the Philippines.
At its peak, Typhoon Goni was the strongest storm to hit in 2020.(Supplied: RAMMB)

Goni is among the strongest typhoons to hit the Philippines since Haiyan, which killed more than 6,300 people in 2013.

Manila's main airport was ordered to shut down for 24 hours from Sunday to Monday and airlines cancelled dozens of international and domestic flights.

The military and national police, along with the coast guard and firefighters, were put on full alert.

Forecasters said the typhoon's eye was expected to graze about 70km south of metropolitan Manila, the densely populated capital region of more than 13 million people, on Sunday evening.

A person walks along a shoreline which is being battered by strong winds.
Strong waves batter the coast of Sorsogon province, central Philippines.(AP)

Coronavirus patients moved as storm bears down

Storm surge alerts have been issued, while officials have also reminded those in evacuation centres to observe social distancing as the spread of coronavirus was also a concern.

About 1,000 COVID-19 patients were moved to hospitals and hotels from tent quarantine and treatment centres in the capital and the northern province of Bulacan, Mr Jalad said.

More emergency shelters would be opened than usual to avoid congestion that can rapidly spark infections.

The war-like typhoon preparations will further strain government resources, which have been drained with months of coronavirus outbreaks that prompted the Government to set up isolation and treatment centres when hospitals were overwhelmed and provide aid to more than 20 million poor Filipinos.

The Philippines has reported more than 380,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases, the second-highest in South-East Asia, with 7,221 deaths.

Displaced villagers may have to stay longer in evacuation centres even after Goni exits Tuesday due to another storm brewing in the Pacific that may affect the Philippines in a few days, Mr Jalad said.

ABC/wires

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2020-11-01 05:44:00Z
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