Typhoon Goni: Philippine town of Virac 90% damaged – Red Cross

Typhoon Goni: Philippine town of Virac 90% damaged - Red Cross - We The World
Image courtesy of @ajplus via Twitter

Typhoon Goni has ravaged the populous inland town of Virac in the Philippine island province of Catanduanes, which per local rescue operations has been damaged between 80-90% by the catastrophic rains and winds.

As per visual assessments on the spot by humanitarian group Red Cross, the majority of the city’s municipal buildings were demolished by Goni — locally known as Typhoon Rolly.

Red Cross told the BBC after Goni passed through Virac, which was the first populous area in the Philippines to be hit by the storm, all the communication lines were destroyed since Sunday, making it difficult to derive information from the area.

Goni, which made landfall on Sunday, with wind speeds sustaining over 170 km/h, uprooted trees, electric poles, blew out thatched houses, roofs, and made the once-bustling town look like the aftermath of a war.

The maximum sustained wind speed of the super typhoon was up from 280 kilometers an hour when it first made landfall on the wee hours of Sunday.

In Catanduanes island electricity, water, and cellular network were severed, Red Cross told the BBC apart from the incredible destruction it caused to the townscape.

At least 10 people were killed since Goni made landfall in the Philippines, We The World earlier reported, and the storm displaced hundreds of thousands in the capital Manila.

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The country’s National Disaster Risk Reduction & Management Council (NDRRMC.) said at least 2 million people impacted from the typhoon after it sweapt through the islands.

“The number of affected (is) 372,653 families or 2,068,085 individuals. Ten are dead and one injured. Cost of damage is still being assessed,” NDRRMC spokesman Ricardo Jalad told CNN, Monday.

Typhoon Goni is the biggest storm to wreak havoc in the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan killed over 7k people in 2013. This year, already 800,000 people had to leave their homes in Albay province in the main Luzon island.

As per the latest updates from the local media, Goni has further weakened. The storm is now moving over the West Philippine Sea and may exit the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) by Tuesday morning.

Despite preemptive efforts from the country’s agriculture department, estimates say 928,000 hectares of land planted with rice and 58,431 hectares of corn could be damaged, apart from coconut plantations.

The Philippines is prone to tens of storms on an average every year, and evacuating millions is a yearly drill. But unlike every year, displacing people from homes and giving them safe shelter has been a challenge due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the Philippine weather bureau, another storm called Atsani has entered the country and can potentially gain strength.

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