Super Typhoon Haiyan hammered the central Philippines late last week. Locally known as Yolanda, it was the strongest tropical cyclone to ever make landfall.
According to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, Haiyan came ashore with sustained winds of 195-mph, the equivalent of a category-5 hurricane in the U.S. Destructive on their own, these powerful winds also helped produce a devastating 20-foot storm surge that washed out numerous coastal towns and villages. Local officials say the storm impacted approximately ten million people across forty-one provinces, with Tacloban City being the hardest hit area. While the full extent of this natural disaster is still unknown, the Philippine Military reports that 942 people are confirmed dead – primarily from drowning and collapsed buildings. Sadly, government officials expect this number to increase as more areas become accessible and communications are restored. Some fear the death toll could climb as high as 10,000.
The Philippines, a nation of nearly seven thousand islands, is no stranger to serious storms. Situated in the warm waters of the tropical western Pacific, they are often hit by typhoons, including four this year alone. None, however, have been as powerful as this recent event. If the government’s staggering death toll projections are realized, Haiyan will become the Philippines’ deadliest storm on record.
Image Credit: NOAA