Philippines battens down for super typhoon Haiyan, Category 5 hurricane
Already reeling from Bohol earthquake, survivors run to higher ground
Super typhoon Haiyan, or "Yolanda," a super-strong Category 5 hurricane is set to touch down in the Philippines this Friday. Already reeling from a massive earthquake that battered the Bohol area, survivors are now scrambling to high ground to escape the 200 per mile hour winds.
More than 30 provinces across the country have been told to prepare for possible flash floods and landslides.
Known as Yolanda in the Philippines, the storm is expected to still be a super typhoon, with winds in excess of 149 miles per hour, when it makes landfall Friday morning in the region of Eastern Visayas. So large in diameter, Yolanda's clouds are affecting two-thirds of the country.
More than 3,800 people have been sent to evacuation centers by late Thursday, Maj. Reynaldo Balido of the Philippine Office of Civil Defense said. The majority of those relocated live in Tacloban City, which sits on the coast of the island of Leyte and has a population of more than 200,000.
Philippines President Benigno S. Aquino III warned residents of the "calamity our countrymen will face in these coming days.
"Let me repeat myself: This is a very real danger, and we can mitigate and lessen its effects if we use the information available to prepare," he said.
In preparation, officials have placed relief supplies in the areas that are expected to get hit, Aquino said. "The effects of this storm can be eased through solidarity," he said.
In spite of relocation efforts, Haiyan's high winds and torrential rain are expected to affect millions of people. The storm system had a diameter of about 500 miles at last report.
More than 30 provinces across the country have been told to prepare for possible flash floods and landslides. Meteorologists warn that Yolanda is stronger than a typhoon that caused widespread damage in the south of the country last December.
"If Typhoon Yolanda continues at its current strength, its impact could be colossal, not only on those areas directly in its path, but also for nearby islands already battling to recover from last month's massive earthquake," Bernd Schell, country representative in the Philippines for the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, said.
"Hundreds of thousands of people in Central Visayas saw their homes damaged or destroyed three weeks ago and many are living in evacuation centers or makeshift shelters - they are particularly vulnerable as the storm sweeps in," he said.
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