Super typhoon forces millions to flee

2013-11-08 08:46
Gallery  |  click on thumbnail to view larger image

Super typhoon hits Philippines

See all the pictures from the Philippines where a super typhoon, one of the most intense typhoons ever recorded, has slammed into the country.

Manila - The strongest typhoon in the world this year and possibly the most powerful ever to hit land battered the central Philippines on Friday, forcing millions of people to flee to safer ground, cutting power lines and blowing apart houses.

Haiyan, a category-5 super typhoon, bore down on the northern tip of the Cebu Province, a popular tourist destination with the country's second-largest city, after lashing the islands of Leyte and Samar with 275km/h wind gusts and 5-6m waves.

Authorities warned more than 12 million people were at risk, including residents of Cebu City, home to around 2.5 million people, and areas still reeling from a deadly 2011 storm and a 7.1-magnitude quake last month.

"The super typhoon likely made landfall with winds near 195km/h. This makes Haiyan the strongest tropical cyclone (typhoon) on record to make landfall," said Jeff Masters, a hurricane expert and director of meteorology at US-based Weather Underground.

Typhoons and cyclones of that magnitude can blow apart storm-proof shelters due to the huge pressure they create, which can suck walls out and blow roofs off buildings.

About a million people had taken shelter in more than 20 provinces, after Philippine President Benigno Aquino appealed to people in Haiyan's path to evacuate from danger spots, such as river banks, coastal villages and mountain slopes.

"Our school is now packed with evacuees," an elementary school teacher in Southern Leyte who only gave her name as Feliza told a radio station. Leyte and Southern Leyte are about 630km southeast of the capital Manila.

The storm's path includes the resort island of Boracay and other holiday destinations.

"Please do not underestimate this typhoon. It is very powerful. We can feel each gust," Roger Mercado, governor of Southern Leyte province, adjacent to Leyte, told DZBB radio. "We lost power and all roads are impassable because of fallen trees. We just have to pray."

In Samar, contact was lost with some towns and villages, said local officials. More than 41 000 people have been evacuated in the province, one of the country's poorest.

"The whole province has no power," Samar Governor Sharee Tan told Reuters by telephone. Fallen trees, toppled electric posts and other debris blocked roads, she added.

On Bantayan Island, off Cebu's northern coast, one person was missing and another pinned beneath a tree, said Neil Sanchez, head of Cebu's provincial disaster agency.

"We still don't know if the person was just injured or a fatality because the phone lines were cut," he said.

Torrential Rain

Authorities halted ferry services and fishing operations, while nearly 200 local flights had been suspended. Commuter bus services were also stopped as the storm with its torrential rain, ripped iron roofs off houses and snapped trees.

Twenty navy ships, three C-130 air force cargo planes and 32 military helicopters and aircraft were on standby. An army spokesperson on the southern Mindanao island said a man was killed in a shelter area when he was electrocuted by a toppled power line.

Schools, offices and shops in the central Philippines were closed, with hospitals, soldiers and emergency workers preparing for rescue operations.

The state weather bureau said Haiyan was expected to exit the Philippines on Saturday and move towards the South China Sea, where it could become even stronger and threaten Vietnam or China.

Typhoon Bopha last year flattened three coastal towns on the southern island of Mindanao, killing 1 100 people and causing damage estimated at $1.04bn.

Read more on:    benigno aquino iii  |  philippines  |  typhoon haiyan  |  natural disasters

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.