Typhoon forces evacuation of hundreds of thousands in Philippines

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Strong waves caused by Typhoon Vongfong batter houses along the coastline of Catbalogan city in the eastern Philippines on May, 14, 2020. (AP Photo/Simvale Sayat)
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Dark clouds envelop the skies as workers fold a billboard to prepare for the coming of typhoon Vongfong in Manila, Philippines on Thursday May, 14, 2020. (AP)
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Updated 15 May 2020

Typhoon forces evacuation of hundreds of thousands in Philippines

  • Weather authority warns the storm may move to other parts of the country

MANILA: A powerful typhoon hit the central Philippines on Thursday, forcing an evacuation of hundreds of thousands of people who had been confined to their homes amid coronavirus lockdowns.

Typhoon Ambo (Vongfong) struck as Metro Manila and several other areas remain under community quarantine with nearly 11,900 people known to have contracted the virus and 790 to have succumbed to it.

With winds of up to 155 km/h near the center and gusts of up to 190 km/h, the typhoon made landfall over San Policarpo town in Eastern Samar at 12:15 p.m., the Philippine Atmospheric Geophys- ical and Astronomical (PAGASA) said, adding that the storm was bringing violent winds and heavy rain to the northern part of the province.

Heavy rain also hit parts of Northern Samar, Masbate, Sorsogon, Catanduanes, Albay, Camarines Sur, and the rest of Eastern Visayas.

On Friday, heavy to intense rains are expected over Bicol region, and moderate to heavy rains over Northern Samar, Quezon, Aurora, Marinduque, and Romblon.

Residents in the affected areas have been advised to take appropriate measures and listen for updates, as officials have warned that flooding and rain-induced landslides may be expected.

PAGASA said that within 24 hours, a storm surge of 2-4 meters may be experienced over the coastal areas of Northern Samar, Eastern Samar (east coast), Samar (west coast), Sorsogon, Albay, Catanduanes, Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, Quezon, and Aurora.

Amid the ongoing health crisis, the typhoon brings a further challenge to authorities responsible for enforcing social distancing measures at evacuation centers.

Eastern Samar Governor Ben Evardone said in a radio interview that most schools normally used as shelters have been converted into COVID-19 quarantine facilities, but said that evacuees would not be brought to these facilities.

In Northern Samar, Governor Edwin Ongchuan ordered a forced evacuation of 300,000 to 400,000 people.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Navy has directed its forces in Luzon island to implement disaster mitigation strategies and to monitor the situation for possible deployment and search and rescue operations as Ambo is expected to hit the largest and most populous island.

Police will work with regional disaster management councils to ensure public safety and enforce strict quarantine measures in the areas affected by Ambo, National Police Chief Gen. Archie Francisco F. Gamboa said.


Spain’s former king leaving country amid financial scandal

Updated 03 August 2020

Spain’s former king leaving country amid financial scandal

  • The 82-year-old former king is credited with helping Spain peacefully restore democracy after the death of dictator Francisco Franco in 1975
  • Marred by scandals in the later years of his reign, Juan Carlos in 2014 abdicated in favor of his son Felipe VI

MADRID: Spain’s former monarch, King Juan Carlos I, says he is leaving Spain to live in another country amid a financial scandal.
The royal family’s website on Monday published a letter from Juan Carlos to his son, King Felipe VI, saying “I am informing you of my considered decision to move, during this period, out of Spain.”
Spain’s prime minister recently said he found the developments about Juan Carlos — including investigations in Spain and Switzerland — “disturbing.”
The 82-year-old former king is credited with helping Spain peacefully restore democracy after the death of dictator Francisco Franco in 1975.
But marred by scandals in the later years of his reign, Juan Carlos in 2014 abdicated in favor of his son Felipe VI, losing the inviolability protection Spain’s Constitution grants to the head of state.
The royal house has denied that Felipe had any knowledge of his father’s alleged financial irregularities.