At least 10 people have died, and many more are missing after super typhoon Goni, the world’s strongest storm this year, raged across the south of the Philippines’ main island of Luzon on Sunday.
More than 300 houses in Bicol were buried under volcanic mud flows, and power supply and communications services were cut off to large areas. Many thousands have been evacuated to storm shelters and higher ground.
Frantic searches are being conducted for survivors who have been buried in mud slides and swept away in raging floodwaters.
Health officials are reminding evacuees and rescuers to observe social distancing as Covid-19 is also a threat.
Goni was a super typhoon when it initially hit eastern provinces, but weakened to 165kph sustained winds with gusts of up to 230kph. However, it remains dangerously strong, and the national weather agency said that people would continue to experience “catastrophic, violent winds and intense to torrential rainfall”.
The strongest storm to blast the Philippines this century was Haiyan, which flattened entire villages, swept ships inland, killed more than 7,000 people, and displaced more than five million in the central Philippines in November 2013
The weather bureau has warned that another cyclone, tropical storm Atsani, is on the way and could gain strength.