Hurricane Goni weakens because it crosses the Philippines, killing 4

© Reuters. A view of the heavy rain during Typhoon Goni in the town of Sorsogon

By Enrico Dela Cruz

MANILA (Reuters) – A super typhoon weakened after cruising the southern part of the Philippine main island of Luzon on Sunday. Officials reported at least four deaths, power outages, infrastructure damage and flash floods.

The weather bureau downgraded Goni, the world’s strongest storm to date this year, to the typhoon category, with sustained winds of 215 km / h (140 mph) and gusts of up to 290 km / h after it hit the Bicol Region was landed.

Tropical storm-wind warnings have been lowered, but the weather agency warned in its 0300 GMT bulletin that Goni was still a threat as it traversed provinces south of the capital, Manila.

Goni landed twice in two locations in the Bicol region where four deaths were reported, said province governor Al Francis Bichara, including one who was hit by a tree and a five-year-old who washed away after overflowing a river has been.

The civil protection authority could not confirm the report.

Video footage from news channels and social media showed rivers overflowing, some levees destroyed and villages submerged in Bicol.

Bichara also received reports of volcanic mud flows, as well as power outages and outages of communications services.

In Quezon, Governor Danilo Suarez said power was cut in 10 cities when Goni toppled trees.

The typhoon could affect between 19 and 31 million people, including those in danger zones and in metropolitan Manila, the civil protection agency said.

About 347,000 people were in evacuation centers, disaster management chief Ricardo Jalad said, cutting the figure from nearly a million the agency reported on Saturday.

President Rodrigo Duterte was overseeing the government’s disaster response from his southern hometown of Davao, according to President Spokesman Harry Roque.

Health officials reminded those in evacuation centers to watch social distancing as the spread of the coronavirus is also an issue.

Dozens of international and domestic flights were canceled when the Civil Aviation Authority ordered a one-day closure of Manila’s main gate, Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

Goni is one of the strongest typhoons in the Philippines since Haiyan, which killed more than 6,300 people in 2013.

It is followed by Typhoon Molave, which hit the Philippines last month, killing 22 people, mostly from drowning in provinces south of Manila.

The weather bureau said it is also monitoring another cyclone, tropical storm Atsani, which could hit the northern provinces of Luzon in the coming days.

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