Nearly 10,000 Estimated Dead after Deadly Typhoon Hits Philippines


Makeshift shelter in front of ruined houses devastated by Typhoon Haiyan (Reuters: Romeo Ranoco)

Makeshift shelter in front of ruined houses devastated by Typhoon Haiyan (Reuters: Romeo Ranoco)

Early Friday morning, beginning around 8:05 am, disaster struck in the Philippines, and its name was Typhoon Haiyan (or Yolanda, as it is locally known.)  According to BBC News, Typhoon Haiyan, with consistent winds of up to 200mph (320km/h) and gusts up to 235mph (379km/h), is one of the largest recorded tropical storms to ever hit land.

The Official Gazette of the Filipino government has stated that the devastating storm has affected over 12 million people in 41 provinces across the country.  In addition to the severe physical damage that the storm caused on nearly 150,000 homes or more, the official count of human casualties is nearing 2,000, with just over 2,600 more injured and 83 reported missing.  However, estimates from news sources and government officials are circulating with numbers nearing 10,000 casualties (The Guardian).  Although the devastation in the Philippines is so immense from the storm, Eduardo del Rosario, head of the disaster response agency, told the Associated Press that “early evacuations and the speed at which the typhoon swept across the Philippines, may have helped reduce its destructive potential” (BBC News).

CNN Video Coverage: Typhoon Footage

Typhoon Haiyan has not only destroyed homes, businesses, and entire towns, but it has affected a great deal of power supplies, hindered communication because of destroyed telephone lines and cellular towers, and left people with very little to none of the necessary resources for living, such as food and water.  Another result of this terrible storm has been mobs of scared citizens raiding food warehouses, and even stealing from other survivors, fueling the fear that law and order will continue to break down.  Many international organizations are aiding in the providing of food and other necessities to the survivors of the storm, but the damage done to the lines of communication and roadways has been severely hindering efforts. BBC News has reported that United Nations humanitarian chief, Valerie Amos has stated that help is coming, but that a lot will be needed.  She said, “The priority has got to be, let’s get the food in, let’s get the water in.”  According to Xinuahnet, the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have asked for $83 million and $34 million, respectively, to provide food, generators and additional aid to the survivors of the storm and to provide aid for the estimated 4 million children in the Philippines.

Predicted Path of Typhoon Haiyan from Philippines to Vietnam and Ending in China (BBC News, source: Joint Typhoon Warning Center)

Predicted Path of Typhoon Haiyan from Philippines to Vietnam and Ending in China (BBC News, source: Joint Typhoon Warning Center)

While relief efforts continue in the Philippines, Vietnamese citizens braced themselves for the storm.  Early predictions warned that Typhoon Haiyan was expected to pick up speed on its way toward Vietnam.  However, Al Jazeera has reported that after hitting land in Vietnam with much slower, but still high winds of 75mph (120km/h), the storm has decreased in power and as it moved toward southern China, it has only slowed down further.  No additional deaths have been reported in Vietnam, so aid efforts will continue to be focused on the Philippines with additional aid to the damage that did occur in Vietnam.

 

 

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