Death toll from year’s deadliest typhoon in Philippines continues to climb


The death toll from the deadliest cyclone to hit the Philippines this year has climbed to 67, with 12 people still missing, the national disaster management agency has said.

President Rodrigo Duterte was scheduled to fly to the northern Tuguegarao province later in the day to assess the situation in Cagayan Valley region, which was heavily flooded after Typhoon Vamco dumped rain over swathes of the main Luzon island, including the capital, metropolitan Manila.

Twenty-two fatalities were recorded in Cagayan, 17 in southern Luzon provinces, eight in mMetro Manila and 20 in two other regions, said disaster agency spokesman Mark Timbal.

Twenty-one people were injured, he said.

Houses are submerged in flooded areas in Cagayan Valley region, northern Philippines.(AP: Philippine Coast Guard)

Many areas in Cagayan, a rice- and corn-producing region of 1.2 million people, remained submerged as of Sunday, according to media reports.

Heavy flooding, caused by the accumulated effects of previous weather disturbances, as well as water from a dam and higher plains, affected thousands of families, some of whom had fled to rooftops to escape two-storey-high floods.

Man carries girl
A man carries a girl through debris in a typhoon-damaged village in Rodriguez, Rizal province.(AP: Aaron Favila)

The damage to agricultural commodities due to floods was initially pegged at 1.2 billion pesos ($34.2 million), while infrastructure damage was estimated at 470 million pesos, Mr Timbal said.

Nearly 26,000 houses were also damaged, he said.

Relief and rescue operations continued while the nearby Magat Dam was still releasing water, two days after releasing a volume equivalent to two Olympic-size pools per second, based on government data.

Residents wade along a flooded road during rescue operations
Typhoon Vamco caused extensive flooding that sent residents fleeing to their roofs and killed dozens of people.(AP: Philippine Coast Guard)

Vamco, the 21st cyclone to hit the Philippines this year, tore through Luzon late on Wednesday and caused the worst flooding in years in parts of the capital.

It followed Super Typhoon Goni, the world’s most powerful storm this year, which brought heavy rain to southern Luzon provinces and killed scores of people just a few days earlier.

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Fatalities mount as Typhon Vamco lashes the Philippines.

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Vietnam braces for Typhoon Vamco, 53 dead in Philippines



Philippine Coast Guard conduct a rescue operation, after Typhoon Vamco resulted in severe flooding, in the Cagayan Valley region in northeastern Philippines, November 13, 2020. Mandatory credit PHILIPPINE COAST GUARD/Handout via REUTERS

November 14, 2020

By Khanh Vu and Neil Jerome Morales

HANOI/MANILA (Reuters) – Vietnam was bracing for Typhoon Vamco to make landfall in the country’s central coast early on Sunday, as the death toll in the Philippines rose to 53 from that country’s deadliest storm this year.

Packing winds of up to 165 kph (103 mph), Vamco is forecast to hit a swathe of Vietnam’s coast from Ha Tinh to Quang Ngai province, the government’s weather agency said on Saturday.

“This is a very strong typhoon,” Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said, warning provinces in Vamco’s projected path to prepare for its impact.

The provinces plan to evacuate 468,000 people by the end of Saturday, state media cited the government’s disaster management authority as saying.

Vietnam is prone to destructive storms and flooding due to its long coastline. Vamco will be the 13th storm that affects the Southeast Asian country this year, where more than 160 people have been killed in natural disasters triggered by a series of storms since early October.

“There has been no respite for more than eight million people living in central Vietnam,” said Nguyen Thi Xuan Thu, Vietnam Red Cross Society President. “Each time they start rebuilding their lives and livelihoods, they are pummelled by yet another storm.”

In the Philippines, coast guard and disaster agencies scrambled on Saturday to rescue thousands in a northern province after the 21st cyclone to hit the Philippines this year tore through the main island of Luzon late on Wednesday and early Thursday.

Vamco has killed at least 53 people, injured 52 and left 22 missing in the Philippines, according to the Philippines police and army.

(Reporting by Khanh Vu in Hanoi and Neil Jerome Morales in Manila; Editing by William Mallard)





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Stocks dip as investors deal with virus cases, typhoon damage


PHILIPPINE STOCK EXCHANGE

Local shares declined on Friday as investors worried about the economic impact of the rising COVID-19 cases and the damage brought by Typhoon Ulysses on many parts of Luzon, including the country’s capital.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) ended the session down by 54.38 points or 0.77% to close at 6,969.88. The day before, the market was closed for trading due to bad weather caused by the typhoon’s onslaught.

The broader all-shares index decreased by 0.47% or 19.25 points to finish at 4,083.55.

“Local shares ended the week lower as investors continued to deal with the rising number of COVID-19 cases and its potential economic impact. In addition many investors remained on the sidelines to assess the damage brought about by Typhoon Ulysses,” Regina Capital Development Corp.’s Managing Director Luis A. Limlingan said in a Viber message.

He said investors were also weighing the plan of US President-Elect Joe Biden to place the country under weeks-long lockdown to stem the transmission of the virus.

For Diversified Securities, Inc. equity trader Ancieto K. Pangan, the local market continued its downtrend in line with many regional markets on Friday.

The majority of the sectoral indices ended Friday’s session with losses. Financials declined by 21.48 points of 1.59% to 1,326.57; holding firms decreased by 108.77 points or 1.49% to 7,215.79; industrial went down 122.45 or 1.33% to 9,072.19; and services dipped by 1.25 points or 0.08% to 1,541.07.

Meanwhile, property gained 50.93 points or 1.46% to 3,528.59; and mining and oil inched up by 18.23 or 0.22% to 8,298.94.

Mr. Pangan said in a text message that the mining and oil sector experienced sustained momentum because of a weak dollar while the property sector continued to improve due to the easing of lockdown restrictions.

Value turnover stood at P10.7 billion, with about 1.80 million switching hands, down from Wednesday session’s P14.5 billion at 2.04 million shares.

Advancers led decliners, 119 against 85, with 54 unchanged. — A. Y. Yang










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At least 39 dead in the Philippines as Typhoon Vamco causes extensive flooding


Thick mud and debris coated many villages around the Philippines capital after a typhoon caused extensive flooding that sent people fleeing to their roofs and killed at least 39 people.

Thousands of people have been rescued, though waters have mostly receded. The military was rescuing people in places where waters remained high.

Amphibious assault vehicles usually used in counter-insurgency operations were deployed for the rescue work, military chief of staff General Gilbert Gapay said on Friday in an emergency meeting with disaster-response officials.

“We’ll continue to look for the missing, help in damage assessment,” Gapay said. He reported 39 deaths and 32 other people missing.

Typhoon Vamco passed north of Manila between Bulacan and Pampanga provinces overnight on Wednesday and early Thursday, toppling power poles and trees and damaging homes.

Thousands of houses submerged in roof-level floods in Kasiglahan, Rodriguez, Rizal

Jell Morena

More than 350,000 people had been evacuated to safety, mainly residents fleeing vulnerable coastal and low-lying areas before the typhoon hit.

Philippine National Police said more than 100,000 people had been rescued, including 41,000 in the capital region.

At least 3.8 million households lost power in metropolitan Manila and outlying provinces, but crews have restored electricity in many areas and power was expected to be fully restored in about three days. Government offices were closed and classes suspended for public schools Friday.

Vamco hit the Philippines on the heels of Typhoon Goni, one of the strongest typhoons in the world this year, which left more than 30 people dead or missing and damaged or destroyed 270,000 houses. Tens of thousands of people remain displaced.

The Philippines is hit by about 20 typhoons and tropical storms each year and also had active seismic faults and volcanoes, making it one of the world’s most disaster-prone countries.



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Typhoon Vamco hits the Philippines, hundreds of thousands evacuated


Citing national police, CNN Philippines reported a 68-year-old and 70-year-old were among those killed. More than 180,000 people were evacuated as the typhoon battered the country, hitting many of the same communities that were devastated by Super Typhoon Goni just 10 days before.

Typhoon Vamco, referred to as Ulysses in the Philippines, is equivalent in force to a Category 2 hurricane, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA). It made its first landfall at 11 p.m. local time near Patnanungan, Quezon, then continued moving westward, making a second landfall in Luzon. According to PAGASA, the storm has caused flooding and two to three meters of storm surge. The agency warned the rains could cause landslides.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said the impact of the storm in central Luzon is particularly damaging because it is hitting the same 1.6 million people affected by Super Typhoon Goni. Vamco is the fifth storm to impact the Philippines in just over three weeks.

“The Red Cross holds particularly grave concerns for more than 240,000 people who lost their homes to Typhoon Goni, especially those who are living in makeshift shelters along the coast as this latest storm hits,” the organization said in a statement, adding that the situation is particularly dire because local government emergency response funds have been depleted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Scientists are warning that climate change is making storms like this more destructive. A study published in May said it was becoming increasingly evident that hurricanes, typhoons, and tropical cyclones worldwide are becoming stronger and potentially more deadly as the globe warms due to the climate crisis.

“These non-stop storms are slamming our communities during a deadly pandemic, making this one of the most complicated disaster responses ever,” Richard Gordon, Philippine Red Cross chairman, said in a statement.

Philippine Interior Secretary Eduardo Año was quoted by PNA as saying the search and rescue operations were ongoing across Luzon, especially in the affected areas in Cainta, Montalban, and San Mateo in Rizal and Metro Manila, particularly in Marikina City, which has suffered from flooding.

Marikina Mayor Marcy Teodoro told reporters on Thursday that the air rescue efforts were hampered by the weather and appealed for more rescue resources to be made available as the city was overwhelmed by the number of residents trapped on the rooftops of their flooded homes.

A Marikina resident clings to a plastic container as floodwaters hit the area.

More than 25,000 police officers have been deployed to assist in disaster response, according to PNA.

Situation reports from the command center indicated 411 flooded areas, 519 areas without electricity, and 104 areas without telecommunication service, the Philippine National Police Chief General Debold Sinas told PNA.

According to PAGASA, the center of the storm is moving away from the Philippines and heading towards Vietnam. The long term forecast from the Joint Typhoon Warning Center shows a weaker Vamco is likely to affect Vietnam this weekend, with more flooding possible.



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Typhoon Rolly death toll climbs to 24; infra damage at P5.76B


PHILIPPINE STAR/EDD GUMBAN

THE DEATH toll from typhoon Rolly (international name: Goni), the world’s strongest typhoon so far this year, has climbed to 24 while 26 others were injured and five remain missing, according to the latest report from the Philippine National Police.

Majority of the fatalities at 20 were from Bicol, the region hit hardest by the typhoon.

Three were from Calabarzon and one from Mimaropa.

The injured consists of 22 from Bicol and four in Calabarzon.

The police, among the frontline emergency responders, deployed

5,804 officers for search and rescue operations and another 1,556 in evacuation centers.

Typhoon Rolly exited the Philippine area on Tuesday, leaving a trail of over 402,000 families composed of 1.62 million people affected across six regions.

As of November 3, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported that at least 106,642 families were still displaced.

In Bicol alone, nearly 80,000 homes were affected, including 20,942 that were totally destroyed and 58,696 partially damaged, according to the Office of Civil Defense’s regional office.

INFRA, AGRI DAMAGE
The cost of damage to roads, bridges, flood-control structures, and public buildings has reached over P5 billion, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) reported on Tuesday

Of the total P5.756 billion, the estimated cost of damage to roads is P1.52 billion, Public Works and Highway Secretary Mark A. Villar said in a statement.

He also cited the P458.2 million damage to bridges, P2.04 billion to flood-control structures, P367.25 million to public buildings, and P1.38-billion to other infrastructure.

“As expected, our assessment teams identified majority of the destruction in Bicol Region amounting to P4.621 billion,” Mr. Villar said.

The department said many roads in the island province of Catanduanes are still “impassable.”

“DPWH quick response teams are fast-tracking clearing operations along the affected road sections in the island as we have no alternative routes as of the moment. These roads must be opened soonest for the relief efforts which Catanduanes badly needs right now,” he said.

In agriculture, NDRRMC Spokesperson Mark E. Timbal, in a viber message to reporters, said damage is initially estimated at P1.74 billion across the regions of Bicol, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, and Eastern Visayas.

RELIEF AND RECOVERY
While authorities take stock of Rolly’s destruction, relief operations are also in full swing. 

“Government assistance provided as of 12NN today… have been estimated to 26.6 million pesos,” Mr. Timbal said.

The movement of goods in most of the typhoon-hit areas has also resumed, according to Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez. Mr. Lopez, in a radio interview with DZBB on Tuesday, said the department’s regional directors have reported that shipping in most affected provinces are back in operation, but some roads are still being cleared.

Ang flow of goods — importante ‘yunay tuluy-tuloy din (— that’s important — is continuous),” he said.

A price freeze on basic necessities and prime commodities is being implemented in areas that have declared a state of calamity.

Fines for traders found violating the price freeze range between P1,000 to P2 million, Mr. Lopez said.

The Energy department also announced a price freeze on household liquified petroleum gas and kerosene in Camariñes Sur after the provincial government declared a state of calamity.

The price freeze started Monday and will be in effect until November 16. In a Viber advisory on Monday evening, the Department of Energy said price rollbacks will be implemented while increases are strictly prohibited within the 15-day period.

This comes a day after the agency declared a price freeze in Cavite, which declared a state of calamity earlier. Other affected provinces have yet to issue similar declarations.

Mr. Lopez also confirmed in a mobile message to reporters that the department will offer micro-financing and livelihood kits for business owners in the areas affected by the typhoon. The funding will come from the Small Business Corporation, he said.

The Department of Labor and Employment, for its part, said it will release funds to employ 5,000 workers who will help in the clearing operations of Catanduanes, where typhoon Rolly first made landfall. “I will send an amount to hire at least 5,000 people to clean the streets and the debris of typhoon Rolly,” Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III said in a briefing on Tuesday. ARTA: DON’T ‘WAIT-AND-SEE’The Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA), meanwhile, asked the Social Welfare department to proactively process food and cash aid if local governments in typhoon-hit areas have not released assistance within two days.

ARTA Director-General Jeremiah B. Belgica, in a statement on Tuesday, said field or regional offices of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) should monitor disaster-stricken areas and check if sufficient food and cash aid have been distributed.

If none has been extended by the local government within two days, the DSWD field office should automatically send a report to their central office to send food and cash assistance instead of waiting for a request from the local chief executive.

The local government officials concerned will be investigated.

“There will be a presumption of serious neglect of duty and grave misconduct which are both serious offences for administrative cases to be filed with the Office of the Ombudsman and which would merit immediate preventive suspension,” ARTA said.

“In times of calamities, a wait-and-see method is already a thing of the past,” Mr. Belgica said.

In the case of the current calamity, 10 local government heads are due to be summoned by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) for reportedly being absent in their respective areas when typhoon Rolly pummeled parts of  the country.

DILG Secretary Eduardo Manahan Año, in his report to President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Monday night, said two of the mayors are from Bicol, four from Mimaropa, two from the northern Luzon area, and two from the Visayas.

“I cannot give their names yet until investigations are conducted and cases are filed against them,” Mr. Año said.

The officials could face administrative sanctions before the Ombudsman for dereliction of duty and gross negligence.

DDR DEPARMENT
In another development, a lawmaker on Tuesday defended the need to pass a law that will create a separate department on disaster management following criticisms that it will just worsen an already bloated bureaucracy.

“It (proposed law) does not merely create an agency. It institutionalizes disaster preparedness, response, and future-proofing as a national responsibility with an institutionalized framework,” said Representative Jose Maria Clemente S. Salceda, who represents the 2nd District of Albay, one of the provinces in Bicol.

Mr. Salceda is the principal author of House Bill 5989 or the Disaster Resilience Act, which will establish the Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR) tasked to lead the government’s preparedness, response and recovery programs.

Senators Franklin M. Drilon and Panfilo M. Lacson have said it would be better to strengthen existing agencies rather than setting up the DRR, which could cost the government at least P1.5 billion and billions more for the salaries, capital outlay, and operational expenses. — Gillian M. Cortez, Arjay L. Balinbin, Jenina P. Ibañez, Angelica Y. Yang, Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza, and Emmanuel Tupas/PHILSTAR










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Powerful typhoon slams into Philippines, killing at least 7


MANILA, Philippines — A powerful super typhoon slammed into the eastern Philippines with ferocious winds Sunday, killing at least seven people and causing volcanic mudflows to bury houses before weakening as it blew toward Manila, where the capital’s main airport was shut down, officials said.

Typhoon Goni hit the island province of Catanduanes at dawn with sustained winds of 225 kilometers (140 miles) per hour and gusts of 280 kph (174 mph). It was barreling 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.

Gov. Al Francis Bichara said at least four people were killed in his hard-hit province of Albay, including a father and son who were in a rural community that was hit by mudflows and boulders swept down from Mayon Volcano by heavy rains. Villagers fled to safety as the typhoon approached, but the two apparently stayed put, he said.

“The child was found 15 kilometers (9 miles) away,” Bichara told DZMM radio, adding that the child was swept away by mudflows and floodwaters.

Three other villagers, including one pinned down by a tree, were killed in Albay, the Office of Civil Defense said.

Ricardo Jalad, who heads the government’s disaster-response agency, said the typhoon’s destructive force was capable of causing major damage. “There are so many people who are really in vulnerable areas,” he said.

The Philippine weather agency reinforced those concerns, saying that within 12 hours after the typhoon blasted into shore, people would experience “catastrophic, violent winds and intense to torrential rainfall.”

Residents were warned of likely landslides, massive flooding, storm surges of up to 5 meters (16 feet) and powerful winds that can blow away shanties. But as in past storms, some refused to heed the warnings.

In Quezon province, villager Diane Joco scrambled with her husband, parents, siblings and cousin out of their flimsy houses on stilts on the shore of Calauag town, but stayed close by in a neighbor’s sturdier house near the coast to guard their own homes.

“We should be nearby to be able to repair any damage to our house quickly, otherwise it will fall apart and be blown away. We have no other house,” Joco said by phone. She suddenly yelled as she spoke, saying that a part of the tin roof of her neighbor’s house was nearly ripped off by a frightening gust.

One of the most powerful typhoons in the world this year, Goni has evoked memories of Typhoon Haiyan, which left more than 7,300 people dead or missing, flattened entire villages, swept ships inland and displaced more than 5 million in the central Philippines in November 2013.

Goni weakened before nightfall, with sustained winds of 165 kph (102 mph) and gusts of up to 230 kph (143 mph), but remained dangerously strong, forecasters said.

Jalad, the disaster-response official, said nearly a million people were preemptively moved into emergency shelters.

Forecasters said the typhoon’s eye may pass about 70 kilometers (43 miles) south of metropolitan Manila, the sprawling capital region of more than 13 million people, around nightfall on Sunday.

In a Manila gymnasium that was turned into an emergency shelter, displaced residents worried about COVID-19 outbreaks. The Philippines has had more than 383,000 cases of the virus, the second-most in Southeast Asia behind Indonesia.

“We are scared — our fears are doubled,” said Jaqueline Almocera, a 44-year-old street vendor who took cover at the shelter. “The people here are mixed, unlike when you’re at home, safe and we don’t go out. Here you interact with other evacuees.”

Hundreds of COVID-19 patients were moved to hospitals and hotels from tent quarantine centers as the typhoon blew closer to the country, Jalad said.

The Philippines is lashed by about 20 typhoons and storms each year. It’s also located on the so-called Pacific “Ring of Fire,” where earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are common, making it one of the world’s most disaster-prone countries.

———

Associated Press photojournalist Aaron Favila contributed to this report.



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Typhoon Goni hits Philippines: World’s strongest storm of 2020 leaves four dead as nearly 350,000 are evacuated | World News


At least four people have died and nearly 350,000 are in evacuation centres as a super typhoon hits the Philippines.

Goni, the world’s strongest storm so far this year, made landfall in the southern Bicol region, with sustained winds of 140mph (225kph) and gusts of 174mph (280kph).

The victims included one person who was reportedly hit by a tree and a five-year-old who was washed away after a river overflowed in Albay province.

Governor Al Francis Bichara also received reports of volcanic mud flows, as well as electricity supply and communication service outages.

Video footage by news channels and on social media showed rivers overflowing and some dikes destroyed, submerging villages.

In Quezon, another southern province, governor Danilo Suarez said the power supply was cut in 10 towns.

Image:
Flash floods brought by Typhoon Goni in Barangay Busay, Albay province

The weather bureau downgraded Goni to typhoon category after it hit the country.

But the weather agency warned that Goni still poses a threat while it moves towards the capital Manila, where it is due to hit later on Sunday.

The agency warned that within the next 12 hours, people will experience “catastrophic violent winds and intense, or torrential rainfall”.

Residents in affected areas have been warned to expect landslides, massive flooding, storm surges of up to 5m (16ft) and powerful winds that can blow away shacks.

Between 19 million and 31 million people could be affected by the typhoon, including those in danger zones and in Manila, the disaster management agency said.

Aftermath of Typhoon Goni in Albay Province
A view of floodwater and damaged houses in the aftermath of Typhoon Goni in Bariw, Camalig, Albay Province, Philippines, November 1, 2020, in this picture obtained from social media. Renz Adrian Ronda/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES.
Image:
Floodwater and damage in the aftermath of the typhoon in Albay province

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

Dozens of international and domestic flights have been cancelled as the civil aviation authority ordered a one-day closure of Manila’s main gateway, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

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

Last month, Typhoon Molave struck the country, killing 22 people, many of them who drowned in provinces south of Manila.

The weather bureau said it was also monitoring another cyclone, tropical storm Atsani, which could hit northern Luzon provinces in the coming days.



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Typhoon Goni Makes Landfall in Philippines; ‘Catastrophic’ Winds Feared


‘Catastrophic winds’ are predicted as the storm hits.

Typhoon Goni, expected to be the strongest storm to hit the Philippines this year, made landfall early Sunday with weather officials predicting “catastrophic wind damage” as it roared through the country.

The warning came as emergency response teams backed by the Philippine police and military scrambled to prepare. Winds were expected to be particularly strong in Catanduanes Province and other areas, Pagasa, the national weather agency, said in a tweet it posted Sunday morning.

“Within the next 12 hours, catastrophic violent winds and intense to torrential rainfall associated with the region of the eyewall and inner rain bands of the typhoon will be experienced,” the agency said in a separate advisory.

The center of the eye of Goni made landfall as a super typhoon at 4:50 a.m. in Catanduanes, an island province, Pagasa said. Its path was expected to take it through Luzon, the country’s most populous island, and the country’s capital region.

‘Super’ or not, the typhoon is expected to cause large-scale destruction.

Typhoon Goni had sustained winds of 135 miles per hour at its center and gusts of 165 miles per hour as of early Sunday, prompting the Joint Typhoon Warning Center to categorize the storm as a super typhoon.

The eye of the storm — which Philippine officials are calling Typhoon Rolly under their separate naming system — was expected to pass near Metro Manila, the capital region and home to more than 24 million people.

“We are forecasting widespread destruction even if this does not turn out to become a super typhoon,” Ricardo Jalad, the chief of the government’s National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, said Saturday on state television.

Along with violent winds and torrential rain, storm surges along the coast were expected, the Philippine weather agency said.

Goni, the 18th typhoon to strike the Philippines this year, arrives just days after Typhoon Molave tore through the country, dumping heavy rain and causing significant flooding. Molave killed 22 people and forced the evacuation of tens of thousands before moving on to Vietnam, where it caused deadly landslides.

Mr. Jalad of the disaster management agency said that evacuations in areas threatened by Goni began on Friday. Nearly a million people in southern Luzon had already been evacuated as of Saturday, the agency reported.

Local officials could order forced evacuations if necessary, Mr. Jalad said.

“If they see that their constituents are facing danger, they are empowered to carry out forced evacuations with the help of the Philippine National Police and other uniformed services,” Mr. Jalad said. There had been “avoidable casualties” during Typhoon Molave, he added, because some people had ignored warnings.

The Philippines is hit by at least 20 tropical storms and typhoons every year, some of them deadly. Thousands were killed in November 2013 when Super Typhoon Haiyan tore through the central Philippines.

Aid and rescue services are getting ready.

The Philippine Red Cross stationed rescue vehicles and emergency response teams across Luzon.

“We are determined to do all we can to help these communities prepare for the oncoming storm,” said Richard Gordon, the Red Cross chairman.

He said the disasters complicated the country’s response to Covid-19, which has infected more than 370,000 people and killed 7,185. Evacuation centers can make social distancing more challenging than usual.

The Philippine military said that it, too, had deployed emergency response units in areas expected to be hit by the typhoon.





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Typhoon Goni Makes Landfall in Philippines, Packing ‘Catastrophic’ Winds


MANILA — Typhoon Goni, expected to be the strongest storm to hit the Philippines this year, made landfall on Sunday morning, with weather officials predicting “catastrophic wind damage” as it roared through the country.

The warning came as emergency response teams backed by the Philippine police and military scrambled to prepare. Winds were expected to be particularly strong in Catanduanes Province and other areas, Pagasa, the national weather agency, said in tweet it posted Sunday morning.

The center of the eye of Goni made landfall as a super typhoon at 4:50 a.m. in Catanduanes, an island province, Pagasa said.

The typhoon had sustained winds of 135 miles per hour at its center and gusts of 165 miles per hour as of early Sunday, prompting the Joint Typhoon Warning Center to categorize the storm as a super typhoon.

The eye of the storm — which Philippine officials are calling Typhoon Rolly under their separate naming system — was expected to pass near Metro Manila, the low-lying capital region and home to more than 24 million people.

The storm is expected to weaken slightly before making landfall again on Sunday morning in the southern part of Luzon, the country’s most populated island, Philippine officials said. The eye of the storm — which Philippine officials are calling Typhoon Rolly under their separate naming system — was expected to pass near Metro Manila, the low-lying capital region, which is home to more than 24 million people.

“We are forecasting widespread destruction even if this does not turn out to become a super typhoon,” Ricardo Jalad, the chief of the government’s National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, said Saturday on state television.

Goni will be the 18th typhoon to strike the Philippines this year. It is arriving just days after Typhoon Molave, which was weaker, tore across the country, dumping heavy rains and causing significant flooding. Molave killed 22 people and forced the evacuation of tens of thousands before moving on to Vietnam, where it caused deadly landslides.

Mr. Jalad said evacuations in areas threatened by Goni had been underway since Friday. He said local officials could order forced evacuations if necessary.

“If they see that their constituents are facing danger, they are empowered to carry out forced evacuations with the help of the Philippine National Police and other uniformed services,” Mr. Jalad said. He said there had been “avoidable casualties” during Typhoon Molave because some people had ignored warnings to stay indoors.

The Philippine Red Cross has placed rescue vehicles, first aid volunteers and emergency response teams in areas across Luzon that are likely to be affected by the typhoon.

“Three storms have consecutively affected the country this month alone, and now a potential super typhoon is heading our way,” said Senator Richard Gordon, the Red Cross chairman. “We are determined to do all we can to help these communities prepare for the oncoming storm,” he said.

He said the disasters had complicated the country’s response to Covid-19, which has infected more than 370,000 people in the country and killed 7,185. Evacuation centers can make social distancing more challenging than usual.

The Philippine military said it had deployed emergency response field units in areas expected to be hit by the typhoon, which could unleash heavy to intense rains over a large swath of Luzon, including Metro Manila.

The Philippines is hit by at least 20 tropical storms and typhoons every year, some of them deadly. Thousands were killed in November 2013 when Super Typhoon Haiyan tore through the central Philippines.



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