Typhoon Goni strongest landfall storm in Pacific history . . .
Super Typhoon Goni, the strongest landfalling Pacific tropical cyclone in recorded history, hit the eastern Philippines on October 31. With winds equivalent to a Category Five hurricane, the storm nearly levelled and buried entire towns. So far, Goni has displaced 370,000 people and resulted in more than 20 deaths, with numbers expected to rise. Early response measures helped evacuate more than 450,000 people and save 1.07 million tonnes of rice, though initial damage estimates put the destruction at over C$30 million. President Rodrigo Duterte toured damaged areas today and made his first nationally televised address since July after being criticized for being absent from emergency briefings in the past month. Goni, now downgraded to a typhoon, is expected to intensify as it travels toward Vietnam.
Causing devastation, rallying humanitarian assistance . . .
Goni follows Typhoon Saudel and Typhoon Molave in October, the latter of which inflicted around C$55 million worth of damage in the Philippines. After Vietnam suffered its worst monsoons and flooding in two decades, Saudel and Molave pummelled central Vietnam, resulting in more than 160 deaths and over C$570 million in damage, higher than the C$401 million lost from last year’s natural disasters. Landslides caused in part by deforestation and rapid development in mountainous regions resulted in the bulk of the destruction and loss of life. The typhoons sparked nationwide relief donation drives and volunteer campaigns across Vietnam and the Philippines and attracted support abroad from diasporic communities and celebrities such as Mark Ruffalo. The Canadian government has yet to make a statement on these humanitarian issues.
La Niña and climate change converge in painful year for Asia . . .
The deadly impacts of Goni and other record-setting weather events throughout Asia come despite a weaker-than-normal Pacific typhoon season. A developing La Niña system is partly to blame, which results in cooler, calmer waters in the eastern Pacific where cyclones typically originate, yet above-average monsoon rains in the western Pacific and the Indian Ocean. However, this year has also highlighted the impact of climate change in exacerbating extreme weather events, and the challenge Asian leaders face in fighting for worldwide emissions reduction and climate change mitigation strategies.
- ASEAN Today: Extreme weather highlights Southeast Asia’s vulnerability to climate change
- The New Humanitarian: Typhoon Goni batters the Philippines, threatens Vietnam
- New York Times: Typhoon Molave slams into Vietnam, bringing death and more misery