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Typhoon Goni Cuts A Path Of Destruction In The Philippines

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

The strongest storm of the year has hit the Philippines, leaving at least 16 people dead and tens of thousands homeless. NPR's Julie McCarthy reports on the aftermath of Typhoon Goni.

JULIE MCCARTHY, BYLINE: Goni approached the Philippines with sustained winds of 195 miles per hour, some of the highest on record. Catastrophic winds and torrential rains cut a path of destruction just above the midsection of the Philippine archipelago.

(SOUNDBITE OF WIND GUSTING)

MCCARTHY: Christopher Romero captured the fury in this phone video from Legazpi City, in the devastated province of Albay. Across a broad swath of the region, Typhoon Goni snapped power lines, pried off rooftops and flattened fields of crops. Officials report at least 22,000 homes were destroyed. Sheets of rain all but submerged the 800-family town of Camalig. Christian Yap told NPR only his father remained to guard the family home. Watching a river bursting its banks, Yap and his mother evacuated. Yap's father survived the flooding that inundated their home but not as badly as some.

CHRISTIAN YAP: (Speaking Tagalog).

MCCARTHY: "In one area, the water is so intense that only the rooftops of the houses are visible," he said. A community leader, Yap said his town was prepared. Many residents evacuated to local schools in advance of the storm. They have emerged, he said, to clean up the "knee-deep mud." Goni made landfall on the Pacific-facing island of Catanduanes, where all communication has been knocked out. Goni spared Manila, barely grazing the capital before heading west out to sea, downgraded to a tropical storm. Forecasters warn that another typhoon, Atsani, is forming behind Goni.

Julie McCarthy, NPR News.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.