Philippines orders evacuations ahead of strongest typhoon

Manila, Oct 31 : The Philippines on Saturday ordered evacuation of coastal villages as it prepares for the onslaught of typhoon Goni, the strongest tropical cyclone to hit the archipelago this year.

Goni, with maximum winds of 215 km per hour and gusts of up to 265 km per hour, moved closer to the eastern coast of the main island of Luzon on Saturday at 20 km per hour from the Pacific Ocean, reports Xinhua news agency.

PAGASA, the country’s weather bureau, forecasted that Goni would make landfall in Quezon province, southeast of Manila, on Sunday.

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“There remains a possibility that this typhoon will reach Super Typhoon category over the next 12 hours,” the bureau said in its latest severe weather bulletin, warning of potential flooding and landslide in its path.

The bureau alerted the residents of many regions in the Philippines’ main island of Luzon, including the capital Manila, to prepare, warning that Goni “will bring heavy to intense rains”, destructive winds and a storm surge of up to 3 metres.

It warned the surge may “result in life-threatening and damaging coastal inundation,” adding “This storm surge may be accompanied by swells and breaking waves reaching the coast.”

The Philippine Coast Guard said no vessels are allowed to sail, stranding passengers and goods in ports in the Bicol region and Eastern Visayas province, which are in the path of the typhoon.

Police forces were deployed in areas in Typhoon Goni’s path to help local government units in the evacuations, Philippine National Police chief General Camilo Cascolan said.

Meanwhile, the state weather bureau said it is also tracking Tropical Depression Atsani churning in the Pacific Ocean 1,655 km east of southern Luzon.

Goni is the 18th tropical cyclone to hit the Philippines this year. The previous topical storms left a trail of destruction in the archipelago.

Earlier this week, typhoon Molave, which tore through villages in Luzon and the central Philippines, left 22 dead and displaced thousands.

Typhoons and tropical storms regularly hit the Philippines from June through year’s end.

Typhoon Haiyan, one of the country’s worst, killed over 7,000 people in November 2013.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-generated from IANS service.

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