Philippines: Typhoon Goni displaces more than 400,000 people

(The Star) – At least 16 people were killed in the Philippines as this year’s strongest typhoon triggered floods and mudflows and cut off power and communication lines, officials said on Monday.

More than 420,000 people fled their homes in eastern and northern provinces as Super Typhoon Goni lashed the main island of Luzon over the weekend with catastrophic winds and torrential rains.

The deaths were reported from the hard-hit provinces of Catanduanes and Albay in the eastern region of Bicol, according to the Office of Civil Defence.

Three persons were also reported missing in the town of Guinobatan in Albay, where more than 100 houses were buried by mudflows, according to provincial governor Al Francis Bichara.

Bichara said the mudflows were from volcanic deposits on the slopes of Mayon Volcano, which were loosened by the heavy rains.

In Catanduanes, where Goni first made landfall on Sunday, 90 per cent of infrastructure was reported to have been damaged based on an initial assessment said Cesar Binag, a regional police director.

A weakened Goni was expected to leave the Philippines on Tuesday, the weather bureau said.

It was packing maximum sustained winds of 65 kilometres per hour (km/h) and gusts of up to 80 km/h as it moved westward over the South China Sea, the bureau added.

Goni was the strongest typhoon to hit the Philippines since Typhoon Haiyan battered the eastern and central provinces in November 2013, killing more than 6,300 people and displacing more than 4 million.

Xinhua, reported that according to the Office of Civil Defense (OCD), Typhoon Goni has forced more than 345,000 of the displaced to stay in the government evacuation centres.

Meanwhile, the Philippines’ Department of Health (DOH) reported 2,298 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 infection on Monday, bringing the total number to 385,400.

The DOH said 87 more patients recovered, raising the total number of recoveries to 348,830. The death toll climbed to 7,269 after 32 more patients died from the viral disease, the DOH said.

The Philippines saw a downward trend of COVID-19 cases, a spokesperson for the DOH said at an online media briefing on Monday, adding that the number of Covid-19 cases in the last two weeks was 25 percent less than those recorded three to four weeks ago.

Citing DOH date, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the cases were averaging 2,517 per day three to four weeks ago, while in the past two weeks the average was down to 1,887.