With winds of 330 kmph, Super Typhoon Haiyan (known locally as Yolanda) which struck the Philippines this morning, is predicted to be the largest storm ever recorded to make landfall, surpassing Hurricane Camille in 1969.
A tropical storm expert speaking to the BBC said, ‘Super Typhoon Haiyan really is a beast. One of the strongest storms ever recorded with sustained winds of 313 kmph, gusting even higher.’
It is reported that more than 12 million people are at risk from the storm, including the population of the countries second largest city Cebu. Schools and offices have been closed, with local flights suspended. Thousands of people have been evacuated and thousands more have fled their homes as the category 5 storm approached. Powerlines have been overturned as 5m (15ft) waves crashed against the islands of Leyte and Samar in the central Philippines.
ShelterBox currently has a team based in the country, responding to a 7.2-magnitude earthquake that hit Bohol on 15 October. Despite deteriorating communications lines ShelterBox spoke with Response Team members this morning.
Mark Dyer from the US, and Paul Crudington from the UK took shelter last night, as did thousands from the coastal areas of Bohol, a popular tourist destination that has barely had time to recover from the earthquake. Mark says, ‘The storm has now passed our area, and our team is doing well. But we are already getting reports of homes being washed away in flooding, and local communications are down.’
Meteorolgists are predicting that the storm will head out across the South China Sea.
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