Sunday, December 7, 2014

Typhoon Hagupit: at least three dead and a million evacuated in Philippines

Kate Hodal in the Guardian (UK): At least three people have been killed and over a million evacuated after typhoon Hagupit tore into the Philippines this weekend, causing landslides, pummelling houses and stirring up gusts of 170kph (106mph) across the country’s central islands.

But the disaster-prone nation – which sees up to 20 typhoons a year – was spared from the extreme death and devastation of last year’s typhoon Haiyan, which killed over 6,000 people and displaced around 4 million, thanks to evacuation and national preparedness strategies that saw aid and government agencies deliver provisions and supplies ahead of the storm.

Hagupit, which is named “Ruby” in the Philippines, was the most powerful storm to hit the country this year. A category 3 typhoon when it made landfall on eastern Samar island on Saturday night – the same place last year’s typhoon Haiyan first struck – Hagupit is thought to have destroyed around 80% of all the homes along some coastal areas, where it also washed away rice crops, Reuters reported.

...Whereas the national government was criticised for its slow relief and debris-clearance efforts after Haiyan, this year military troops were on hand to help clear roads and the air force was on standby to help deliver aid or participate in rescue missions ahead of time, local media reported...

NASA image of Typhoon Hagupit on December 6, 2014

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