Fantastic coverage of Typhoon Haiyan from the landfall in Tacloban to the clearing up of the super storm
‘Super Typhoon HAIYAN (YOLANDA) in Tacloban City, Philippines’
On November 8th Typhoon Haiyan, one of the largest storms to ever occur in South East Asia, made landfall in Central Philippines.
The arrival of the storm was of no surprise, however the impact it made left behind nothing but dismantled and blown away houses along with the fatalities and misplacement of humans. The speed at which the category 5 storm was moving may have spared many more lives than expected as it made its way from the Philippines further south to Vietnam.
The Philippines is located within the tropical belt [5°N -20°N] and so it experiences 20 typhoons on average within a year. It does not go through an official typhoon season as there is none and so typhoons form throughout the year with June-November receiving the most frequent amount of typhoons.
According to the U.S. Navy’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center in Pearl Harbor they have recorded and estimated Typhoon Haiyan’s winds to be at 190 to 195 mph, with gusts to 230 mph nearly attaining the maximum speed for a typhoon due to its warm seas. Waves reached 12 to 15 feet in Samar and Leyte.
The unprecedented storm simply left the government unprepared to handle the aftermath. 18 million people were in the storm’s path and according to Filipino authorities the death toll has now official raised to 6000, however local officials in the province of Leyte have reported more than 10,000 dead. Neighborhoods are now deserted with death tolls in remote areas doubling overnight, where populous cities like Tacloban, which had 220 000 residing in it now has remnants of denuded hills and rubble from torn down buildings of which can no longer stand.
However, authorities were praised as they managed to evacuate 1 million people before the storm hit the nation. The unprecedented storm made damages worth $15 billion. The 7.2 magnitude that hit the province of Bohol on October 15th still currently has 350,000 people temporarily residing in shelters. Fortunately, they were not located within Typhoon Haiyan’s path and so were not as affected in comparison to civilians residing within the island of Leyte.
Six ships had sailed ashore due to the large waves. Rooftops were blown away along with houses of which were secure and well-constructed. Many believed that the intensity and magnitude of the storm was too massive and severe to handle. Civilians and authorities did not anticipate that the aftermath would be as devastating as it appeared to be. The main impact Typhoon Haiyan had on the Philippines apart from the resulting death toll was that it cut off telecommunications, closed airports and pathways to islands such as Samar, Leyte, Cebu and Panay. Reviving telecommunications and power is said to even take months with the extent of the damage. This will inevitable slow down rescue effort and the delivery of aid.
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung personally saw to it that preparations for Haiyan were carried out accordingly. He declared the highest level of alert.
Infrastructure is expensive and so are national preparedness programs. Unfortunately, the Philippines are ranked 165 in the world by GDP Capita just under the Republic of Congo and so it is considered to be in poverty. The infrastructure created by the government was poorly built resulting to why many families have lost their homes and have been displaced. Tacloban was completely inaccessible after the storm had passed leaving people struggling and waiting for aid, food and shelter.
After landfall in the Philippines it immediately made its way across the South China Sea eventually making landfall in Vietnam. Vietnam experienced less damage in comparison to the Philippines as the typhoon surprisingly weakened as it travelled across the South China Sea. Authorities were aware of the extent of the damage it caused the Philippines and so they prepared beforehand. 6.5 million People out of 90 million were supposed to be affected by the storm. They managed to evacuate 800,000 people; however there were only 14 deaths. They received praise from the International Federation of Red Cross & Red Crescent Societies for the plans they successfully managed to carry out.
It is easy to say that when a nation falls it can stand back up. In the Philippines case it is possible, but with the amount of damage the unprecedented storm had left behind the Philippine’s aim to recover as quickly as possible will be just as difficult. Aid is currently being provided to areas hit and safety and recovery has been initiated. The death toll continues to rise with families having to undergo mass body burials. Typhoon Haiyan left a scar for all Filipinos affected not just in the Philippines but all over the world.
‘The “miserable” situation in Tacloban, Philippines’
‘Super Typhoon Yolanda Hits Philippines – CNN Report’
‘Oxfam worker describes ‘devestation’ in the Philippines’
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