Early Sunday, a super typhoon struck eastern Philippines with ferocious winds and around a million people were evacuated in the capital, where the main international airport was forced to close.
“There are so many people who are truly in vulnerable areas,” said Ricardo Jalad, head of the Disaster Response Agency of the government.
With sustained winds of 225 kilometers (140 miles ) per hour and gusts of 280 kph (174 mph), equal to a Category 5 hurricane, Typhoon Goni struck the island province of Catanduanes at dawn.
“It was blowing west to heavily populated areas, including Manila, and rain-soaked provinces were still recovering from a typhoon that struck a week ago and killed at least 22 people.
“Catastrophic violent winds and heavy to torrential rainfall associated with the eyewall area and inner rainbands of the typhoon will be encountered within the next 12 hours,” the Philippine weather agency said in an urgent advisory.
“Catanduanes and four other provinces, including Albay, where tens of thousands of villagers have been moved to safety, especially near the active Mayon volcano, are said to be the first to be hit by the rampaging typhoon.