Typhoon Haiyan Kills Thousands
On Friday, November 8, 2013, a powerful typhoon struck the Philippines. Typhoon Haiyan was one of the strongest storms to ever make landfall, hitting several islands throughout the central Philippines. Tacloban, a coastal city with a population of 220,000, was destroyed. According to the Social Welfare and Development Department, Typhoon Haiyan, called Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines, affected 4.28 million people and at least 270 towns.
Electricity and phone service was out in many areas. Philippine Red Cross Secretary General Gwendolyn Pang was able to text this message, "The local Red Cross chapter has seen many bodies. An actual body count has to be done to determine the exact number." According to meteorologists, Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines with winds of up to 190 miles per hour. By Saturday, November 9, 2013, a United Nations disaster team had arrived to assess the damage. "This is destruction on a massive scale. There are cars thrown like tumbleweed. The last time I saw something of this scale was in the aftermath of the Indian Ocean tsunami," said United Nations team member Sebastian Rhodes Stampa in a statement in which he referred to the 2004 tsunami that hit Indonesia.
By November 20, 2013, according to the Philippines National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, the death toll had reached 4,011. Rescue teams continued to search for the 1,602 people who remained missing. While electricity was still out in some areas, some stores had reopened and residents had begun rebuilding their homes.