Super Typhoon Goni batters Philippines, leaves 4 dead, extensive damage
Topics: TYPHOON GONI
he typhoon, which made landfall in Catanduanes island province in the Bicol region before dawn on Sunday, has weakened, but it still left a trail of destruction in 12 out of the 17 regions in the Philippines.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) has said that between 19 million to 31 million people in the Philippine, about a quarter of the country's whole population, could be affected by Super Typhoon Goni.
Albay province Governor Al Francis Bichara said his office has accounted four deaths so far - three, including a four-year-old child, died from swollen river, and one was pinned by a fallen tree. Fierce wind ripped off the roof of an evacuation center, he added.
Initial media reports said the typhoon destroyed houses, toppled trees and power posts in Albay province.
PAGASA, Philippine' weather bureau, said that "local flooding is occurring in low-lying areas, agricultural areas and urban areas with poor drainage system" in the provinces of Albay and Camarines Sur.
The typhoon also flooded the Cagsawa ruins national park, a favorite tourist destination in Daraga town in Albay province with the picture-perfect cone-shaped Mayon volcano in the background.
Undersecretary Ricardo Jalad, the executive director of NDRRMC, said in an online briefing that nearly 347,000 people in areas prone to flooding and landslide in Metro Manila, the Bicol region, Central Luzon, provinces south-east of Manila, and Eastern Visayas in the central Philippines were evacuated.
Goni intensified into a super typhoon almost three hours before hitting land in Bato town in Catanduanes province, an island province in the southeastern part of Luzon at around 4:50 a.m.
The bureau said Goni, blowing maximum sustained winds of 225 km per hour near the center and gustiness of up to 310 km per hour, made second landfall in Tiwi town in Albay province around 7:20 a.m.
At 8 a.m., the bureau said Goni weakened into a typhoon as it blows towards the provinces of Marinduque and Quezon. Goni is forecast to weaken as it cuts through the provinces of Batangas and Cavite before heading to the South China Sea on Sunday night, the bureau added.
The Philippine Coast Guard ordered dozens of ports closed after the government imposed a "no sail policy," leaving travelers stranded.
Airport authorities also shut down Manila's international airport for 24 hours from 10 a.m. on Sunday.
In Manila, officials ordered big roadside advertising boards taken down, fearing strong winds could knock it down and injure people.
Super Typhoon Goni, the 18th cyclone to hit the Philippines this year, struck close to the regions hit by Typhoon Molave early this week, which killed 22 people and destroyed infrastructure and crops.
Meanwhile, the state weather bureau said it is also tracking Tropical Depression Atsani churning in the Pacific Ocean 1,365 km east of southern Luzon.
Typhoons and tropical storms regularly hit the Philippines from June through December, claiming hundreds of lives and cause billions of U.S. dollars in damages. ■