The Philippines is reeling after Super Typhoon Goni smashed into the islands Sunday, killing at least 20 people and forcing nearly 1 million to evacuate.
The storm – known locally as Typhoon Rolly – unleashed torrential rainfall across large swaths of the island, triggering massive flooding and life-threatening mudflows. One village in Albay province – an area particularly hard hit – can be seen buried in mud and rock, according to photos released by Congressman Zaldy Co. “Several people believed to be buried alive,” said Co in a tweet Monday.
Violent winds lashed the island for hours, peeling off roofs and shattering windows. Hundreds of homes were destroyed, according to initial assessments.
With peak winds of up to 195 mph, Goni is the strongest storm the world has seen in four years, rivaling Super Typhoon Haiyan, which devastated the Philippines in 2013.
It’s also the 18th typhoon to strike the country this year, making landfall just days after Typhoon Molave brought massive flooding and widespread damage to the island, killing at least 22 people.
As the devastation of Goni comes into focus, Tropical Depression Atsani is shaping up to become the country’s 19th typhoon of the season. Atsani – currently churning in the Western Pacific – is predicted to make landfall Wednesday.
Direct Relief’s Response
Direct Relief has staff on the ground in the Philippines and is working in coordination with local groups monitoring needs. The organization has a long history of responding to the region, including in the wake of Typhoons Haiyan and Hagupit, among others.
The organization has an MOU with the ASEAN Coordinating Center for Humanitarian Assistance, known as the AHA Center, to provide prepositioned emergency medical supplies for ASEAN’s collective response to local disasters.
ASEAN stands for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and includes 10 countries in that part of the world. The countries sit on or near the “Ring of Fire,” the zone around the Pacific Ocean that is prone to natural disasters like earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
Direct Relief is also working with Silicon Valley technology company, Balcony, and local partner Gawad Kalinga, to share real-time data on the impact of the storm and needs of affected communities.
Direct Relief will continue to monitor the situation and respond to requests for medical assistance as they arise.