Typhoon Haiyan

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Typhoon Haiyan (known in the Philippines as Typhoon Yolanda) is unofficially the strongest recorded tropical cyclone to make landfall, with wind speeds up to 315 km/h (195 mph). The thirteenth named storm of the 2013 Pacific typhoon season, Haiyan originated from an area of low pressure several hundred kilometers east-southeast of Pohnpei in the Federated States of Micronesia on November 2.

Tracking generally westward, environmental conditions favored tropical cyclogenesis and the system developed into a tropical depression the following day. After becoming a tropical storm and attaining the name Haiyan at 0000 UTC on November 4, the system began a period of rapid intensification that brought it to typhoon intensity by 1800 UTC on November 5. By November 6, the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) assessed the system as a Category 5-equivalent super typhoon on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale; the storm passed over the island of Kayangel in Palau shortly after attaining this strength.

As at 12 November, total fatalities in the Phillipines have been estimated in excess of 10,000 people.

On November 11, Yeb Sano, the Philippines' delegate at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change now underway in Poland spoke out powerfully and poignantly, saying:

"To anyone who continues to deny the reality that is climate change, I dare you to get off your ivory tower and away from the comfort of your armchair. I dare you to go to the islands of the Pacific, the islands of the Caribbean and the islands of the Indian Ocean and see the impacts of rising sea levels ... to the hills of Central America that confront similar monstrous hurricanes, to the vast savannas of Africa where climate change has likewise become a matter of life and death as food and water becomes scarce ... And if that is not enough, you may want to pay a visit to the Philippines right now."

During the clean up after the worst typhoon in memory, the Philippines is faced with a huge problem of feeding and housing its displaced population. The government says that about 4 million people have been displaced, with some 350,000 living in about 1,500 evacuation centers. Places like the Tacloban City Convention Center, an indoor basketball stadium now home to some 2,500 people who lost their homes in the storm, are straining under the lack of sanitation and basic supplies. In addition, about 2.5 million people require food aid.[1]

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  1. Challenge for the Philippines - 4 Million Displaced, NYTimes.com


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