Typhoon Goni, the strongest typhoon recorded anywhere in the world this year is hammering the Philippines with devastating 225 km/h winds and heavy rainfall.

And even in its slightly weakened state after first making landfall in the early hours of Sunday when it was ranked as a ‘super typhoon’ it is causing widespread destruction and endangering human life.

At least four have died already with some reports indicating many more remain unaccounted for.

Weather forecasts are still warning of “catastrophic violent winds and intense to torrential rainfall”

One town – Virac on the island of Catanduanes – with a population of around  70,000 has seen all communications with the outside world cut after taking a direct hit by Goni – known locally as Typhoon Rolly.

The typhoon is now being reported as the most powerful to hit the 7,000 island nation since 2013, when over 6,000 Filipinos died in Typhoon Haiyan.

Landslides and flash flooding remain a threat across much of the central and northern Philippines with some reports of volcanic mud turning into rivers, and sweeping down hillsides.

Speaking with news agency AFP, one young woman in the coastal city of Legazpi in the shadow of the Mayon Volcano described the winds as “fierce” – just a week after Typhoon Molave swept through the same area claiming over 20 lives.

It is the sixth tropical storm to hit the nation in the last month, and has seen almost one million people evacuated from their homes in areas most likely to be affected.

The number of those at risk could reach 31 million according to the Philippines’ National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

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