05/15/2020, 09.54
PHILIPPINES
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Not only Covid-19: 140,000 flee typhoon Vongfong

Authorities order to people to evacuate "wearing masks and respecting social distancing". The typhoon adds stress to a population already marked by the pandemic. To date, the coronavirus in the archipelago has affected 12 thousand people and caused at least 790 victims. Every year at least 20 typhoons hit the archipelago.

Manila (AsiaNews / Agencies) - At least 140 thousand people are fleeing and being forced to take shelter in reception centers to escape the powerful typhoon Vongfong, which is currently bearing down on the Philippines.

A further emergency, which adds up to an already critical situation due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and which has so far caused almost 12 thousand infections and 790 victims throughout the archipelago.

The first rains began yesterday evening, investing hundreds of thousands of people living on the coast or in poor and fragile houses, unable to resist the typhoon shock wave. A storm that struck while tens of millions of Filipinos are forced to remain closed within their home walls, in the context of the quarantine measures taken by the authorities.

Local civil protection officials say at least 141,700 people had to flee "wearing masks and respecting social distancing measures" as police officer Carlito Abriz said. "It is difficult - he adds - to enforce them, because [the displaced persons] are under stress".

Due to the coronavirus, the authorities have decided to use the shelters at half their potential capacity, will provide masks and try to keep families together as much as possible. However, many spaces used as shelters have been converted into quarantine sites for people suspected of having contracted the virus.

Typhoon Vongfong has hit the central archipelago region, where - at least so far - there have not been many cases of contagion. With a view to prevention and containment, in the past few days about 22 thousand people have been evacuated from the slopes of the Mayon volcano.

On average, about twenty tropical storms and typhoons hit the archipelago every year, ending up affecting millions of people already plagued by constant poverty. A 2019 study by the Asian Development Bank reports that these phenomena affect at least 1% on the Philippine economy and, in the most serious cases, the damage can reach 3%. The most serious in recent decades was the super typhoon Haiyan which, in 2013, caused over 7300 deaths.

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