- Luzon, which has a population of 60 million people, has been on lockdown, and this development could further complicate issues.
- Overcrowded shelters are common scene in the country that often experience typhoons, volcanic eruption and earthquakes.
- The President’s spokesperson Harry Roque said that it will be difficult to enforce social distancing.
Typhoon Vongfong has hit land in eastern Philippines on Thursday amid the coronavirus pandemic. The name “Vongfong” is derived from the name for “wasp” in Cantonese. The storm is headed towards one of 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. The country’s civil defense office has advised people living along the shores to move to evacuation centers because the storm might cause some damage 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 warned that Vongfong, which formed on Tuesday, has intensified to a fierce pinwheel of a storm.
The President’s spokesperson Harry Roque said that the areas expected to be hit by the storm are not seriously affected by the coronavirus. However, he revealed that there are set guidelines that have been put in place. He urged the families that will be evacuated to strictly observe social distancing rules, but revealed that it will be hard to enforce that.
The coronavirus tally stands at 11,876 confirmed cases, with 790 deaths and 2,337 recoveries. Overcrowded shelters are common scene in the country that often experience typhoons, volcanic eruption and earthquakes. Authorities have said they would need more shelters, so as to ensure that there exists social distancing rule 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. This is the first Typhoon to hit the country this year, and the first named storm of the 2020 West Typhoon Pacific season.
It is threatening to be a potentially big storm. Satelite images of Vongfong showed the bubbling of hot waters, an indication of rapid rising air. The Hawaii-based Joint Typhoon Warning center has warned of its intensification over the next 24 hours. The Typhoon is said to trigger floods, landslides, and strong winds.
The approaching typhoon will be disastrous in a country has had its fair share of trouble this year. The coronavirus cases continue to increase, and in January, the country suffered volcanic eruptions. 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 4 landfalls, caused the cancellation of hundreds of flights, leaving dozens of passengers stranded. The Philippines has been home to tropical cyclones, it is a natural disaster in the country which experiences about 20 such storm 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.