Philippines typhoon - November 2013

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Typhoon Haiyan

On Friday morning, 8 November 2013, the strongest tropical typhoon on record made landfall on the southeast coast of the Philippines with winds of up to 195 mph.

The coastal provinces of Leyte, Tacloban and Samar were hit first, before the storm headed west through six central Philippine islands.

The GA offers its condolences to everyone affected by these tragic events.

Impact of the storm

According to BBC reports on 12 November, 10,000 people may have died and 11 million people have been affected by the storm. The death tole is likely to rise.

The UN say Typhoon Haiyan has displaced nearly 600,000 people and damaged or destroyed 41,000 homes.

Hundreds of thousands of people were evacuated by authorities before the storm reached land, but many evacuation centre buildings could not withstand the winds.

The typhoon caused a five metre storm surge with waves of up to 15 metres causing further destruction to coastal areas in the immediate path of Haiyan. As much as 400mm (15.75 inches) of rain followed.

On 11 November the typhoon weakened into a tropical storm as it reached Vietnam and then southern China where heavy rain left one dead.

Secondary effects

The aftermath of the storm in the Philippines is likely to lead to widespread loss of life caused by disease and infection due to decaying corpses and raw sewage spread by flood waters, and mass shortages of food, clean water and shelter.

Some survivors of the typhoon were wounded by debris and these wounds become easily infected in warm, wet and filthy conditions. With the chronic shortage of medical personnel and medicine, untreated infections can cause death. Heavy rain after the storm made the situation worse.

The UN and countries including the UK, Australia, Japan, Vietnam and the US have donated millions of pounds in aid and have sent supplies and medical teams, but distributing this evenly and without causing further problems (civil unrest) is a major difficulty where potentially millions of people require help.

In response to widespread looting and violence in Tacloban, the government deployed soldiers in armoured vehicles to regain order.

Flimsy construction

The typhoons impact on human life was great because of where it hit. Due to widespread poverty and low economic development many Filipinos live in wooden homes, which are unlikely to survive intense winds. Many storm shelters didn't survive the storm due to poor construction.

What caused Typhoon Haiyan?

The Super Typhoon was fuelled by ideal conditions: low wind shear and a warm Pacific Ocean.

The Philippines is particular vulnerable to typhoons because of the vast expanse of warm water acting as a birth place for storms and few pieces of land to slow them down.

Most typhoons (known as cyclones or hurricanes elsewhere) do not hit land at their peak when they reach land, but Haiyan did.

Climate change

The intensity of the storm has also been attributed by scientists in part to global warming, as rising sea levels and water temperatures provide increasing amounts of energy for major weather events.

Roxas City, Capiz, Philippines

Sharon, a teacher, lives with her family in Roxas City, situated on the coast of the western Philippine island of Panay. They survived but their home and school did not. See below for photos of the aftermath. Videos of the damage can be seen here and here.

Wooden buildings didn't stand a chance against the strong winds, whereas many concrete structures survived.

Sharon's school was badly damaged.


The Guardian (News updates and causes)

BBC news (News updates)

Met Office (Weather report)

Huffington Post (Causes and impact)

Sky News (Aid)

BBC News (News report on Tacloban)

Map Action (Deployment info)

Capiznun Facebook page (Photos and stories)

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Sharon Guest

"I had a school badly damaged in this typhoon, it looks quite similar to the one in the picture..."


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