Canada As Typhoon Goni approaches, a million people evacuated in the Philippines

21:20  31 october  2020
21:20  31 october  2020 Source:   lexpress.fr

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With its "destructive" winds and waves that can reach 15 meters at sea and 3 on the coasts, the typhoon should reach the island of Catanduanes on Sunday morning .

Des gardes-côtes évacuent un enfant aux Philippines à l'approche d'un typhon, le 31 octobre 2020. © Philippine Coast Guard / AFP Coast guards evacuate a child in the Philippines at the approach of a typhoon, October 31, 2020.

As the typhoon Goni, the most powerful of this year, heads towards the Philippines, the country's authorities evacuated a million inhabitants on Saturday, fearing "destructive" winds and major flooding. With winds of up to 205 km / h and waves of up to 15 meters at sea and 3 on the coasts, the typhoon is expected to reach Catanduanes Island on Sunday morning before crossing the country's main island, Luzon, warned. meteorological services.

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Goni arrives a week after Molave, which affected the same region and left 22 people dead and inundated a large agricultural region, before continuing on its way to Vietnam.

Strong winds, torrential rains, mudslides

"We are expecting storm surges and we are monitoring Mayon and Taal volcanoes for possible volcanic mudslides," ABS-CBN television broadcaster Mark Timbal, porte -speak of the agency responsible for the response to natural disasters.

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"The strong winds and the torrential rains" expected could cause floods and landslides in mass in this region of 20 million inhabitants, warned for their part weather services.

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The head of Civil Defense Ricardo Jalad indicated that "nearly a million" people had left their homes in the Bicol region, which includes the southern part of the island of Luzon and the island of Catanduanes. Authorities sent vehicles, equipment and rescue teams to risk areas on Saturday in anticipation of the typhoon.

The epidemic complicates matters

Empty schools since the start of the Covid-19 epidemic serve as emergency accommodation centers for evacuees, as well as sports halls and managed evacuation centers by the government.

"The evacuation of threatened populations is made even more difficult this year because of the Covid-19", explained the spokesperson for the regional civil defense services, Alexis Naz. The schools, closed because of the virus, will serve as shelters, but where we could normally have put 16 people per room, the number will be limited to 5 per room due to the pandemic, he explained.

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Mary Ann Echague, 23, her two children, her parents and brothers and sisters fled their home in Legazpi, a coastal town in the Bicol region, to seek refuge in a school where they share a classroom with several other families.

The family, already affected by previous typhoons, took away a stove, canned meat, instant noodles, coffee, bread, pillows and blankets. “Every time we have been hit by a typhoon, our house has been damaged, and since then it has been built of wood with a galvanized sheet roof,” she says. “We have always managed,” she explains.

Waves 15 meters high at sea

Several hundred people were stranded at the quayside, as coast guards ordered ferries and fishing boats to stay at the quay, with waves reaching 15 meters high at sea. Goni is expected to weaken "considerably" as it crosses the island of Luzon before reaching the South China Sea on Monday morning, according to meteorological services.

The Philippines is affected each year on average by around 20 tropical storms and typhoons, which destroy crops, fragile houses and infrastructure, keeping entire populations in permanent poverty. The worst in recent history was Super Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, which killed more than 7,300 people, especially in the central city of Tacloban submerged by giant waves.

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