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Philippines Hit By Powerful Typhoon, Forces Evacuation For Tens Of Thousands Of People

In densely populated capital Philippines' Manila, tens of millions in storm’s path had to be evacuated during pandemic that further flared health risks.

Philippines

Thousands hunkered down at home under confinement measure to stem novel coronavirus were evacuated in a complicated and risky operation as the powerful typhoon hit the central Philippines on Thursday (May 14), as per media reports. At least 200,000 people who resided in the coastal areas or almost battered homes in the province had to be rescued amid Typhoon Vongfong, which made landfall and wreaked havoc with fierce downpour and winds in the Philippines. 

According to reports, in the densely populated capital Manila, tens of millions residing in the deadly storm’s path had to be evacuated during the pandemic that further flared risks of exposure for the vulnerable population. Due to the twin threat of the typhoon as well as the coronavirus, evacuation centers in the central Philippines were able to accept half their capacity. This, in turn, made social distancing difficult and evacuees had to mandatorily wear face masks and follow protocols in a challenging situation. 

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Expanding evacuation

Limited space, a surge of people from the rescue sites, led the authorities to request the local 47 spacious churches in the area to accept people that were fleeing the typhoon, as per media reports. Disaster chief in central Albay province, Cedric Daep, was quoted saying that the centers would be overwhelmed, so, therefore, the officials were expanding evacuation to include churches and several other such sites that could accommodate evacuees.  

Typhoon has put millions of people in disaster-prone areas in a state of constant poverty and the cycle of rebuilding at a greater risk of health safety compromise. As per the local reports, several areas of varying levels of quarantine, as well as, strict stay-at-home measures came in the path of Typhoon. An average of 20 storms and typhoons hits the country each year, disrupting life and causing destruction.  

Last, Typhoon Kammuri hit the Philippines in early December, in which, it destroyed 484,000 houses and caused more than a million people to flee, according to media reports. As of May 14, the Philippines has recorded over 11,876 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus and at least 790 fatalities from the disease.  

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(Image Credit: AP)

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