Friday, December 04, 2020

Storm tests Philippines' capacity to protect evacuees from virus

May 15. 2020
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By Syndication Washington Post, Bloomberg · Andreo Calonzo · WORLD, ASIA-PACIFIC 

Typhoon Vongfong forced more than 150,000 people in the Philippines to leave their homes, risking coronavirus infection as they move to usually packed shelters.

Intense rains and strong winds damaged houses and crops as the first typhoon to enter the Southeast Asian nation this year slammed its eastern provinces. At least two people are missing and one hurt in separate incidents in eastern Visayas, authorities said.

Evacuees are compelled to wear masks and practice social distancing to prevent virus infections, said Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire. Personnel attending to the evacuees are also required to wear personal protective equipment, said Mark Timbal, spokesman of the disaster risk reduction and monitoring agency.

The Philippines has 12,091 coronavirus cases, including 806 deaths, as of Friday.

The typhoon, packing maximum sustained winds of 68.4 mph (110 kilometers per hour) near the center and gusts of up to 150 kilometers per hour, has hit the Southeast Asian nation just as lockdowns in the capital region and other parts of the country are set to ease.

It's expected to bring strong winds and rain in Metro Manila on Friday night before traversing northern provinces over the weekend.


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