Mil­lions on alert for su­per ty­phoon

The Myanmar Times - - World -

MIL­LIONS of peo­ple in the Philip­pines were or­dered yes­ter­day to pre­pare for one of the strong­est typhoons to ever hit the dis­as­ter-bat­tered coun­try, with au­thor­i­ties warn­ing of gi­ant storm surges and de­struc­tive winds.

Su­per Ty­phoon Haima was forecast to hit re­mote com­mu­ni­ties in the far north of the coun­try last night, bring­ing winds al­most on a par with cat­a­strophic Su­per Ty­phoon Haiyan that claimed more than 7350 lives in 2013.

“It’s not just heavy rain and strong winds that we are ex­pect­ing. It’s also floods, land­slides and storm surges in coastal ar­eas. Those in these ar­eas, you are in dan­ger – find safer ground,” Al­lan Ta­bel, chief of the in­te­rior min­istry’s dis­as­ter and in­for­ma­tion co­or­di­nat­ing cen­tre, told a na­tion­ally tele­vised brief­ing.

With Haima hav­ing a weather band of 800 kilo­me­tres (500 miles), more than 10 mil­lion peo­ple across the north­ern parts of the Philip­pines’ main is­land of Lu­zon will be af­fected.

Haima was ap­proach­ing the Philip­pines with sus­tained winds of 225km an hour and gusts of 315km an hour, ac­cord­ing to the state weather bureau.

Au­thor­i­ties warned coastal com­mu­ni­ties to ex­pect storm surges of up to 5 me­tres (16 feet).

Nev­er­the­less, the ar­eas di­rectly in Haima’s path are not densely pop­u­lated and are well-drilled in storm prepa­ra­tions.

The Philip­pine is­lands are of­ten the first ma­jor land­mass to be hit by storms from the Pa­cific Ocean.

The South­east Asian ar­chi­pel­ago en­dures about 20 ma­jor storms each year, many of them deadly.

The most pow­er­ful and deadly was Haiyan, which de­stroyed en­tire towns in heav­ily pop­u­lated ar­eas of the cen­tral Philip­pines.

“If we talk about typhoons that en­tered the Philip­pines, this is the se­cond strong­est next to Haiyan,” govern­ment weather spe­cial­ist Beni­son Estareja told AFP.

Haima is the se­cond ty­phoon to hit the north­ern Philip­pines in a week af­ter Sarika claimed at least one life and left three peo­ple missing.

Photo: AFP

Res­cuers load a rub­ber boat onto a ve­hi­cle as they pre­pare for Ty­phoon Haima in Ila­gan town, Is­abela prov­ince, yes­ter­day

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