Thursday, November 7, 2013

Super typhoon Yolanda to test Philippine disaster preparedness and response

CALM BEFORE THE STORM. Cebu city's tallest buildings, the Crown Regency Twin Towers, could be seen pointing their proud peaks toward a cloudless sky of blue. In less than 24 hours, a super typhoon brewing in the Pacific ocean is expected to enter Philippine area of responsibility. Photo taken by Napoleon Nalcot.

A super typhoon called by its international name Haiyan is now named Yolanda as it entered Philippine area of responsibility. Yolanda, classified as a super typhoon by the US Joint Typhoon Warning Center or the (JTWC) with a maximum sustained winds of 130 knots or 241 kilometers per hour (kph), is the strongest typhoon to visit the Philippines this year and was predicted by weather forecasters to be stronger than Pablo, another super typhoon which wrought havoc in the Philippines last year and has also killed more than 1000 lives.

Yolanda will make landfall on Friday in the Samar-Leyte areas and will leave Philippine area of responsibility by Sunday morning. Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration or PAGASA has released warnings that storm signal number 4 could be raised to areas directly hit by the said super typhoon. People from earthquake-stricken areas like Bohol and some parts of the Visayas are advised to stay away from sinkholes caused by last month’s 7.2 magnitude earthquake. Landslides are also expected from these affected areas.

Unlike in an earthquake where it strikes unpredictable, a typhoon’s path could be tracked from the very beginning by the people in charge in the Philippine Weather Bureau using state-of-the-art weather instruments and also with the aid of a satellite.

Super typhoon Yolanda is going to test the country’s disaster preparedness and response. Typhoons are not new in the Philippines, in fact, they are a frequent visitor. As a typhoon-prone country, preparation should always be the first priority. 

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