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Philippines: Typhoon Haiyan

Parts of the Philippines have been devastated by a typhoon. Millions of people have been affected and thousands of people have died. What exactly happened? And what can you do to help?

Residents walk on a road littered with debris after Super Typhoon Haiyan battered Tacloban city in central Philippines November 10, 2013. Haiyan, one of the most powerful storms ever recorded, killed at least 10,000 people.

What is a typhoon?

A typhoon is a tropical storm, which is referred to as a cyclone, hurricane or typhoon in different parts of the world. They gain their strength by drawing heat out of the ocean and intensify when there is cool air over the warm ocean. They are divided into five categories, with one being the lowest level and five the highest. The category of the typhoon is decided according to the wind force and the scale of the potential damage they can inflict.

What category was Typhoon Haiyan?

Typhoon Haiyan was a category five typhoon - the highest level - when it hit the Philippines, with maximum sustained winds estimated at 315 kilometres an hour and gusts reaching 380 kilometres an hour, making it a “super typhoon.” The winds are reported to have been the strongest ever measured. You can get an idea of how strong the winds were from the video footage below, courtesy of the Associated Press.

Why was Typhoon Haiyan so damaging?

The Philippines is one of the nations most at risk from tropical storms and as such is more prepared for such disasters. However, Typhoon Haiyan is one of the strongest ever recorded and certainly the most powerful to hit the Philippines. This is partly because the storm reached peak intensity as it hit land, which is a rare and devastating occurrence.

You can help

Concern Worldwide has launched an emergency appeal with our immediate priority to provide water and shelter to those most affected.

 

Photo: REUTERS. Residents walk on a road littered with debris after Super Typhoon Haiyan battered Tacloban city in central Philippines November 10, 2013. Haiyan, one of the most powerful storms ever recorded, killed at least 10,000 people in the central Philippines province of Leyte, a senior police official said on Sunday, with coastal towns and the regional capital devastated by huge waves. Super typhoon Haiyan destroyed about 70 to 80 percent of the area in its path as it tore through the province on Friday, said chief superintendent Elmer Soria, a regional police director.   REUTERS/Erik De Castro, Philippines.