10 October, 2013
Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest storms ever recorded, struck the Philippines with gusts of up to 200mph (320km/h). It has so far lashed central islands including Leyte and Samar, and the northern tip of Cebu – including Cebu city, the country’s second largest with a population of 2.5 million.
More than 10,000 people are believed to have died in Philippines in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, one of the deadliest storms ever to hit the country. Up to 10,000 are said to have died in Tacloban city and hundreds elsewhere. Hundreds of thousands are displaced. Philippines is struggling to bring relief to some of the areas worst affected
The regional police chief for eastern Leyte province said 10,000 people were believed to have died on that island alone, mostly by drowning and from collapsed buildings.
“We had a meeting last night with the governor and, based on the government’s estimates, initially there are 10,000 casualties [dead],” Chief Superintendent Elmer Soria said in the provincial capital, Tacloban.
Soria said that as much as 80 percent of the area in the path of Haiyan in Leyte province was destroyed.
The typhoon flattened homes, schools and an airport in Tacloban.
Relief workers are yet to reach some towns and villages cut off since the storm.
Thousands of troops have been deployed to the disaster zones and military cargo planes are flying in supplies. However, rescuers are hampered by debris and damaged roads.
Vietnam is now preparing for the typhoon, with more than 600,000 people evacuated in northern provinces.
At least four people were reported killed there, apparently while trying to escape the storm.
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Meteorologists say that if initial estimates based on satellite images are borne out, it could be the most powerful storm ever to make landfall.
Millions of people in vulnerable areas are forced to seek shelter across 20 provinces. More than 12 million people are at risk from the storm, including in Cebu, the country’s second largest city. Schools and offices are closed with ferry services and local flights suspended. Hospitals and soldiers are put on stand-by
President Benigno S. Aquino III warned residents Thursday that they face a “calamity,” issuing mass evacuation orders in a national TV address.
“Let me repeat myself: This is a very real danger, and we can mitigate and lessen its effects if we use the information available to prepare,” he said.
Haiyan is likely to hit at Category 5 strength, the third typhoon in the category to hit the Philippines since 2010.
The most recent Category 5 storm to hit the Philippines was the catastrophic Super Typhoon Bopha on December 3, 2012, which killed 1901 people and caused up to at $1.7 billion in damages.
“We don’t have any measurements of Haiyan’s central pressure, but it may be close to the all-time record of 870 mb set by Super Typhoon Tip [in 1979],” Masters reports.
The expected track of Haiyan will take it directly over the areas hardest hit by a powerful 7.1 magnitude earthquake that killed more than 150 people in the middle of October.
Haiyan will also produce a severe and inundating storm surge, especially along the eastern coast of southern Luzon and Samar islands.
Due to the heavy rains and high winds, severe flooding is expected.
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