Typhoon Goni batters Philippines, nearly one million evacuated

New Delhi (NVI): The world’s strongest storm this year has barreled into the eastern Philippines, bringing catastrophic winds and intense rains as about a million people were evacuated in its projected path including in the capital, Manila, where the main international airport was ordered closed.

Super Typhoon Goni made landfall over Catanduanes province at dawn on Sunday, before weakening as it crossed the main island of Luzon.

Goni’s maximum sustained winds have weakened to 175 kilometers an hour, while gusts slowed to 240 kilometers per hour after the typhoon’s third landfall in Quezon province at midday, down from 310 kilometers earlier Sunday, the Philippine weather bureau said in its latest report.

“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 Philippine weather agency said in an urgent advisory.

At least four people, including a five-year-old, were killed in Albay province, according to Governor Alfrancis Bichara.

Dozens of areas, including Metro Manila, have been placed under storm alert.

Goni comes a week after Typhoon Molave hit the same region of the natural disaster-prone archipelago and killed 22 people.

An average of 20 cyclones pass through disaster-prone Philippines every year, which will likely complicate the nation’s fight against the coronavirus as hundreds of thousands of people are evacuated from typhoon-hit areas. In 2013, Haiyan struck the Southeast Asian nation and killed more than 6,300 people.