Hurricane Goni Ravishes the Philippines

Hurricane Goni Ravishes the Philippines

Ash Lopez, Journalist

Imagine having a fairly normal day, before hearing news that a hurricane is arriving, and that you must seek shelter and prepare to evacuate.

This could mean doing something small, such as heading to an evacuation shelter, or on a large scale, meaning you must pack up only the essentials, and make sure to say goodbye to your house and  belongings, not knowing if you’ll ever see them again, or if they’ll be swept up and destroyed in the disaster.

This is what happened in the Philippines, where Hurricane Goni passed right through the southern end of Philippine’s main island, Luzon, on October 31st, a day when most would be outside and celebrating.

More than 300 houses were buried under volcanic rocks and mud flows from Mayon Volcano in severely hit Albay province in the Bicol region, a lawmaker said.” According to CNN.com.

Before the full force of the Hurricane even hit, coastal towns were already being flooded and destroyed, leaving several people missing, and even more dead.

The weather bureau stated that Hurricane Goni was “The world’s strongest storm this year, which had reached a super typhoon category and brought violent winds and intense rainfall, further weakened with 125 kph (78 miles per hour) sustained winds and gusts of up to 170 kph.” Currently, this has been one of the worst hurricanes to hit the Philippines since the 2013 hurricane Haiyan, which killed over 6,000 people.

According to CNN, “Over 390,000 people had fled to safer ground, including more than 345,000 to evacuation centers, raising concerns about compliance with coronavirus-related health protocols.”

Hurricanes have always been a large concern in more tropical locations, such as the Philippines, but now that the Coronavirus has become an issue, trying more standard methods of safe relocation and evacuation are now off the table. This is especially true as things like evacuation centers, in which large groups of people are stored so that they can safely evacuate together, or wait out the storm, are now a large health risk, and some people are less willing to go to them.

According to the representative Zaldy Co, of the Ako Bikol party in the Guinobatan municipality, over 300 houses were buried in debris, some people even have been believed to have been buried alive. This demonstrates how the people of the Philippines were left with an impossible decision – staying in their homes and having a chance of dying by being buried alive, or drowning, or leaving to an evacuation center, but having a much larger risk of contracting the coronavirus, and spreading it to their loved ones and friends.

This illustrates that hurricanes like this happen often – maybe not as a large scale, but still often – and that they can hit anywhere. For most of the time, people don’t even know about them if they aren’t nearby or directly going to impact them, and this means that the long lines of refugees can go for a long time without any support, especially in the face of a pandemic like the one occurring right now. So have people know this is important, because each person that knows spread awareness about it, and so that the people suffering might be able to get a little bit of support. People can help by donating to various charities, or by even telling others about it, so that more people become aware, and help improve the quality of life for those struggling because of the hurricane.