Officials in the Philippines say strong winds and rain from Typhoon Vongfong killed at least one person and damaged hundreds of homes and coronavirus isolation facilities when the storm made landfall in the southeastern part of the nation.
Gov. Ben Evardone of Eastern Samar province, where the typhoon slammed ashore, told the Associated Press distraught residents wept after their houses were destroyed or blown away in the towns he inspected. The governor said one villager who lost his home slashed his wrist but was treated in time.
Evardone said a man bled to death after he was hit by glass shards in a school building, where he was trying to take shelter.
In the outlying region of Bicol, northwest of Eastern Samar, more than 145,000 people were riding out the weakening typhoon in emergency shelters on Friday after a mass evacuation that was complicated and slowed by the coronavirus.
Forecasters with the Joint Typhoon Warning Center in Hawaii say Vongfong weakened into a severe tropical storm after hitting land and was blowing northwest toward the populous main northern island of Luzon.
Its maximum sustained wind speed dropped to 110 kilometers per hour with gusts of 150 kilometers per hour but it remained dangerous, especially in coastal and low-lying villages, forecasters said. Vongfong was expected to blow out of the country's north on Sunday.
The typhoon’s arrival comes as the Philippines struggles to deal with coronavirus outbreaks, largely with a lockdown in Luzon that is to be eased this weekend, except in metropolitan Manila and two other high-risk areas. The rest of the country will be placed in less restrictive quarantine, and crucial businesses will partially reopen starting next week.
The Philippines has reported more than 12,000 cases, including 806 deaths, among the highest in Southeast Asia.