Cheat Sheet: Typhoon Haiyan

The official slogan of Tacloban, the capital of the Philippine province of Leyte, is “A City of Progress, Beauty and Love.” Until very recently, the slogan fit the urban, prosperous city that had been steadily growing. But after November 7th, 2013, the city became entirely unrecognizable. Typhoon Haiyan (known locally as Yolanda) made landfall and demolished the city, destroying 70-80% of the infrastructure. Now, tens of thousands are left homeless, with many others dead.

The Facts:

  • The storm formed on November 3rd, 2013 in the western Pacific Ocean as a low pressure system. By November 5th, it strengthened into a typhoon and on November 6th, was upgraded to a category 5 storm.

  • Haiyan is the strongest recorded cyclone to make landfall, with the strongest sustained winds at 195 mph. That’s 20 mph stronger than Hurricane Katrina’s strongest winds!

  • It also holds the record for the second-most intense tropical cyclone to form in the Northwest Pacific Ocean.

  • On November 7th, when the story was at it’s strongest, Hiyan made landfall in the Philippines.

  • Haiyan completely ravaged and destroyed many areas of the Philippines. Officials say the death toll in the city of Tacloban alone could reach 10,000.

  • Typhoon Haiyan affected a total of 9.5 million people across the Philippines and displaced at least 600,000.

The Relief Effort:

  • On November 11th, at least a dozen US and Philippine military cargo planes arrived with relief supplies. Although the planes brought mass quantities of supplies, the demand for relief is huge and workers are having difficulty getting where they need to be.

  • Supplies are difficult to deliver because of the large amounts of structural damage and debris in the way of transportation routes.

  • Because of the delayed response time, many victims of the storm are angry and frustrated. The lack of aid has started hostilities, which has prompted a strong military presence.

  • Multiple countries have pledged aid to the area, including Canada, Britain, Australia, Germany, New Zealand, Taiwan and Singapore.

  • Many organizations such as The Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, UNICEF, and many, many more are offering their aid in forms of monetary support or relief supplies. Some organizations have also set up person tracker services to help displaced people find friends and family members.

What You Can Do:

  • Raise awareness! Since Typhoon Haiyan didn’t affect the US, not as many Americans know about the destruction in the Philippines. Share articles on social media and use the power of word of mouth to spread awareness about the horrible disaster.

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Sources: Yahoo!, NBC, Chicago Tribune

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