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article imageSuper Typhoon Haiyan exits, leaves trail of devastation in Phl

By Leo Reyes     Nov 8, 2013 in Environment
Super Typhoon Haiyan, known in the Philippines as Typhoon "Yolanda," has weakened while traversing the West Philippine Sea heading towards Vietnam and still packing maximum sustained winds of 175 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 210 kph.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), said in its early Saturday morning update the super howler is now outside the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR)
Initial TV footage show that the city of Tacloban in central Philippines has been badly hit by Typhoon Haiyan, the world's strongest typhoon to hit land in 2013.
Actual images of devastation have been posted on social media by residents of affected areas using their mobile and smartphones, depicting the extent of devastation as the typhoon unleashed its terrifying power that immediately isolated the city and outlying areas from the capital city of Manila.
Tacloban and nearby cities and towns are still without power as strong winds blow away electrical lines and posts.
Actual extent of devastation and damages to property in affected areas are expected to be known as soon as power in these areas are restored.
So far only three people have been reported dead but the extent of damage to property and government infrastructure could be tremendous.
Initially several cargo ships and other sea crafts have been destroyed by rampaging seawater in various seaports in the region.
The low casualty as indicated in initial news feeds from the affected areas can be attributed to the advanced preparation by the local government units several days before the expected typhoon landfall.
In the Bicol provinces particularly in Albay, residents have voluntarily moved to safer grounds and designated evacuation centers with minimum prodding from local authorities.
Prior to the typhoon landfall, residents have been thoroughly briefed by local authorities on the importance of cooperating with local disaster coordinating units to avoid loss of life and properties.
The Albay province's approach to disaster mitigation has been replicated in other areas along the typhoon pathway including the island of Bohol where thousands of people were staying in temporary shelters.
Bohol and nearby areas including Tacloban and Cebu cities have been hit by a 7.2 magnitude earthquake last month and many of the earthquake victims were staying in temporary shelters and tents before typhoon Haiyan struck.
Joey Salceda, the governor of Albay province and a very active environmentalist, has been credited for his unrelenting efforts in educating the people in disaster-prone areas in his province. Salceda has always aimed for zero casualty from calamities in Albay.
His efforts paid off when other local government units along the typhoon pathway made use of his strategy to inform residents on the value of advance preparation way before the landfall.
The cooperation of residents has been bolstered further by the president's call on prime time TV two days before landfall to cooperate with local authorities in order to avoid loss of life and property.
Meanwhile, Haiyan is expected to make landfall in central Vietnam by by noontime on Sunday.
Haiyan has left central Philippines, particularly the Visayan region in total disarray with billions worth of properties destroyed and thousands of homes lost.
As authorities work round the clock to restore power in the affected areas, the government led by the President Benigno Aquino has ordered search and rescue operations and mobilized relief agencies to attend to the immediate needs of the people like food and temporary shelters.
The extent of damage and devastation brought about by the onslaught of Typhoon Haiyan is expected to be known in the next few days or as soon as power is restored in the affected communities.
More about typhoon haiyan, typhoon yolanda, Floods, Landslide, Philippines
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