At least 10 killed, over 390,000 displaced as Typhoon Goni slams Philippines

At least 10 people were killed and three others were missing after Typhoon Goni swept across south of the Philippines' main island of Luzon Sunday, the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) said.

The OCD in Bicol, one of the hardest-hit southernmost regions of Luzon, said in a report that at least nine died in Albay province and one in Catanduanes island province where the super typhoon made landfall around 4:50 a.m. local time on Sunday.

Three other people in Guinobatan town in Albay province were reported missing, the OCD said.

According to the OCD, Typhoon Goni has displaced over 390,000 people. More than 345,000 of the displaced were staying in the government evacuation centers, it added.

Goni was a "super typhoon" when it first made landfall, packing maximum sustained winds of 225 km per hour near the center and gustiness of up to 310 km per hour. It triggered flash floods and mudslides in the Bicol region, and left a trail of destruction in 12 out of the 17 regions in the Philippines.

It was downgraded a few hours later as it swept westward across Luzon at the speed of 25 km per hour. It is forecast to weaken further into a severe tropical storm as it is heading towards the South China Sea.

Goni, the 18th cyclone to hit the Philippines this year, struck close to the regions hit by Typhoon Molave early this week, which killed 22 people and destroyed infrastructure and crops.

Meanwhile, the state weather bureau said it is also tracking Tropical Depression Atsani, churning in the Pacific Ocean 1,365 km east of central Luzon.

Typhoons and tropical storms regularly hit the Philippines from June through December, claiming hundreds of lives and cause billions of dollars in damages.

Located in the "Pacific Ring of Fire," the Philippines is among the most disaster-prone countries in the world, including active volcanoes, frequent earthquakes, and an average of 20 typhoons a year causing floods and landslides.

The Philippines lost 463 billion pesos (roughly 9.56 billion U.S. dollars) in damages to natural disasters from 2010 to 2019, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority. 

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