- A man bled to death after he was hit by glass shards as he tried to open a school building to seek shelter.
- The storm, which has weakened after hitting land, is headed towards the country’s most populous island, Luzon, where it is expected to wreak havoc till Saturday.
- The Philippines will need more shelters to ensure social distancing.
At least one person has been killed and hundreds of homes destroyed after Typhoon Vongfong fiercely hit towns in Philippines. The storm, the equivalent of a Category 3 hurricane, produced winds measuring about 115 mph, and heavy rain. The winds flew debris through the air.
The Governor of Eastern Samar, Ben Evardone, said that a man bled to death after he was hit by glass shards as he tried to open a school building to seek shelter. The governor said rice and corn field were destroyed, as well as hundreds of coronavirus isolation centers.
Typhoon Vongfong has caused a lot of devastation to the residents, and some of them could be seen surveying the damage caused and trying to salvage what they could from the debris. The storm also caused power cut offs in Eastern and Northern Samar. Dozens of citizens had been evacuated before the storm struck in an operation that was made difficult by the current coronavirus pandemic.
Overcrowded shelters are common scene in the country that often experience typhoons, volcanic eruptions, and earthquakes. Authorities have said they would need more shelters so as to ensure that the social distancing rule can be observed among those evacuated. “If we used 10 school buildings before, we now need 20 to accommodate the evacuees with social distancing,” said Edwin Ongchuan, Northern Samar Provincial Governor.
The storm, which has weakened after hitting land, is headed towards the country’s most populous island, Luzon, where it is expected to wreak havoc till Saturday. Luzon, which has a population of 60 million people, has been on lockdown, and this development could further complicate issues. This is the first named storm of 2020 West Typhoon Pacific season, and it is threatening to be a potentially big storm. The name “Vongfong” is derived from the name for wasp in Cantonese.
The country’s civil defense office had earlier advised people living along the shores to move to evacuation centers because the storm might cause some damage to houses made of light material. Farmers have been urged to harvest their crops because Vongfong was intensifying at an alarming rate.
“It has been intensifying rapidly and it is never good,” said a meteorologist with IBM Corp’s Weather Underground. The US Joint Typhoon Warning Center warned that Vongfong, which formed on Tuesday, has intensified to a fierce pinwheel of a storm.
The Philippines has been home to tropical cyclones, and experience about 20 yearly. In November 2013, Super Typhoon Haiyan claimed more than 6.000 lives, and was said to be most intense land falling tropical cyclone globally.
In December last year, the country was hit by two typhoons, namely Kammuri and Phanfone. Typhoon Phanfone made a landfall that claimed 16 people, while Kammuri, which made four landfalls, caused cancellation of hundreds of flights, leaving dozens of passengers stranded.