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Super Typhoon Haiyan death toll over 100

9 Nov USA Today

Super Typhoon Haiyan, among the most powerful storms ever recorded, crashed across the central islands of the Philippines Friday, killing more than 100 people and forcing nearly 750,000 people to flee from their homes.More than 100 others were injured in the city of Tacloban on Leyte Island, Capt. John Andrews, deputy director general of the Civil Aviation Authority, said. As Saturday morning broke, the official death toll was expected to rise. Initial reports on Philippine television are that dozens of bodies are visible in public areas in Leyte, one of the hardest hit islands, along with Samar and Bohol.There were reports of widespread power outages, flash flood, landslides and scores of buildings that were torn apart. But because communications in the Philippines were cut-off, it remained difficult to determine the full extent of casualties and damage.

“We expect the level of destruction caused by Typhoon Haiyan to be extensive and devastating, and sadly we fear that many lives will be lost,” said Anna Lindenfors, Philippines director of Save the Children.Haiyan had sustained winds of 155 mph with gusts as high as 235 mph, according to the U.S. Navy's Joint Typhoon Warning Center. The center of the storm was moving away from the Philippines and into the South China Sea, but high winds were still battering the country.By early Saturday morning local time, the center of the fast-moving storm was located to the west of the Philippines, about 700 miles from Da Nang, Vietnam. After weaken slightly as it passed over the islands, Haiyan is expected regain strength as it heads across the South China Sea toward Southeast Asia.

It's predicted to hit Vietnam on Sunday with winds of about 125 mph, which is the strength of a Category 3 hurricane.

Haiyan, known as Yolanda in the typhoon-prone Philippines, affected a huge sweep of the country. At least two people were electrocuted in storm-related accidents, one person was killed by a fallen tree and another was struck by lightning, official reports said.Southern Leyte Gov. Roger Mercado said the typhoon triggered landslides that blocked roads, uprooted trees and ripped roofs off houses around his residence.The dense clouds and heavy rains made the day seem almost as dark as night, he said.

“When you're faced with such a scenario, you can only pray, and pray and pray,” Mercado said in a telephone interview, adding that mayors in the province had not called in to report any major damage.I hope that means they were spared and not the other way around,” he said. “My worst fear is there will be massive loss of lives and property.The category-5 storm made landfall Friday morning at Guiuan, a small city in Samar province in the eastern Philippines.Over 12 million people live in the storm's path, including Cebu City, with a population of about 2.5 million, and Bohol island, where a major earthquake last month killed over 200 people and left thousands homeless and highly vulnerable in tents.

The typhoon was expected to skirt central Manila and fully exit the Philippines by Saturday morning local time, en route for the South China Sea, Vietnam and China.

President Benigno Aquino said Thursday his administration had made war-like preparations, with air force planes, helicopters and navy ships on standby. Over one million people fled their homes ahead of the storm as the government announced evacuation plans in many areas. With at least 20 typhoons hitting the Philippines every year, its people are familiar with nature's power, but none have experienced what some meteorologists have called the most powerful typhoon ever to make landfall.

The affected areas include islands loved by travelers around the world. Last month, Conde Nast Traveler magazine named Cebu and Bohol in its list of the Top 5 Islands in Asia. In Cebu city Friday evening, the wind and rain had eased, electricity had been restored and residents were emerging to assess the damage, said Sarah Adlawan, a saleswoman at the Cebu Northwinds Hotel.

Haiyan was be the fourth typhoon to hit the Philippines this year and the third Category 5 typhoon to make landfall in the Philippines since 2010, says meteorologist Jeff Masters of the Weather Underground. Just last year, Super Typhoon Bopha killed more than 1,900 people in the Philippines when it hit on Dec. 3, the deadliest typhoon in Philippine history.

“The Philippines lie in the most tropical cyclone-prone waters on Earth, and rarely escape a year without experiencing a devastating typhoon,” says Masters A tropical cyclone is an all-encompassing term that includes typhoons, hurricanes, and cyclones, which have different names depending on where they form.Since 1970, the Philippines has been hit by more tropical cyclones than any country on earth, except for China, according to the National Hurricane Center.On average, about 30 tropical cyclones form in the western Pacific Ocean each year, the Joint Typhoon Warning Center reports.

 

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