Thousands of people in the northern region of the Philippines were forced to flee their homes after tropical Typhoon Goni lashed the area, causing heavy rains and catastrophic flooding. According to the Washington Post, the typhoon (which is also referred to as typhoon Ineng locally), has so far caused 10 deaths while several others are reported missing. Over 5,000 people is estimated to have fled the area since the typhoon hit the area on Friday.
A Reuters report added that even though the typhoon had weakened on Saturday, it still packed sustained winds of over 93 miles per hour (150 km/hr) and gusts of up to 115 miles per hour (185 km/hr). This has also been confirmed by the Philippine weather agency. The worst affected by the power of the typhoon was the northern province of Batanes located at the northern tip of the Philippine archipelago.
Meanwhile, the typhoon is expected to move away from the Philippine landmass by Sunday as it heads towards the east coast of Taiwan and eventually, Okinawa, Japan. Before the typhoon hit land, it had already caused torrential rainfall in the region causing landslides and mudslides. A landslide in the Benguet province, believed to be among the worst hit, left at least eight people dead, including two brothers. The duo had taken refuge in a temporary shelter when the landslide hit the area and buried them alive. According to Benguet province governor Nestor Fongwan, several others were reported dead when a landslide buried seven shanties that were used by gold miners. The exact number of people in the shanties has not been ascertained yet, and the number of casualties is expected to rise.
“We’re checking door to door to verify if they evacuated somewhere or were there the night before and possibly got buried in the landslide,” Fongwan told the Associated Press.
Another death was reported in a separate landslide that occurred in Mountain Province. There were also reports of two people being swept away by flood waters. The identities of the two have not been confirmed. Meanwhile, several flights to and from the Philippines remained canceled as the typhoon intensified. Normal operations are expected to begin once the strong winds subside.
The people of the Philippines are not new to devastating typhoons. In 2014, typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest typhoons to hit the region, left over 7,300 people dead or missing. According to meteorologists, typhoon Goni is the ninth typhoon to hit the Philippines this year. An average of 20 typhoons hit the area every year.
[Photo by NOAA via Getty Images]