News / Asia

Philippines Braces for 'Strongest Storm of the Year'

Typhoon Haiyan, Nov. 7, 2013
Typhoon Haiyan, Nov. 7, 2013
Simone Orendain
The Philippines is bracing for the world's strongest storm so far this year that is expected to make landfall in the central part of the country Friday. Evacuations and preparations are underway ahead of Super Typhoon Haiyan.

On state television, forecasters warned that Typhoon Haiyan, which is locally called Yolanda, would pack winds topping 240 kilometers per hour. And this would make it the most powerful storm this rainy season.

Forecasters expect Haiyan to make landfall Friday morning on the eastern-most island province Samar. They say Metropolitan Manila to the northwest will also be under a major storm warning as the typhoon makes its way toward the western part of the country.

The head of the civil defense office says preemptive measures have been going on throughout the central provinces since Tuesday. Undersecretary Eduardo del Rosario says local governments there ordered residents to evacuate and had farmers harvest their crops and secure their livestock before leaving.

He says officials suspended school in the area starting Thursday, while emergency workers got food and medical supplies ready in areas expected to be most affected. Trees were trimmed to minimize damage to power lines, while power was turned off in some parts. The government designated certain schools evacuation sites.

The Coast Guard suspended ferry service and ordered fishing boats to dock.

Philippine army troops were bringing food packs and other relief goods into remote areas.

In the past, emergency management officials had lamented the public’s lukewarm response to heed storm warnings. At the same time, the information was slow to reach people. But after being battered with powerful storms in recent successive years, Del Rosario says this time around the public is ready to follow orders.

“I think with our past experiences, it has taught us a lesson and following the advice of those in government is one of the best things to do,” he said.

Forecasters are comparing this storm to Typhoon Usagi, which slammed the northernmost Philippines in September with winds topping 205 kilometers per hour.

The country experiences an average of 20 major storms per year. And forecasters have said late season storms are a recent development. Haiyan is storm number 24 this year.

Late last year, Typhoon Bopha wreaked havoc in the southeastern Philippines- an area not prone to typhoons- killing more than 1,100 when it tore off roofs of houses and even evacuation sites, and reduced hundreds of hectares of banana trees to piles of splinters and twigs.

In 2011, Tropical Storm Washi caused devastating floods also in a part of the south unused to major storms, killing more than 1,200.

You May Like

Pundits Split Over Long-Term US Role in Afghanistan

Security pact remains condition for American presence beyond 2014; deadline criticized More

US Eyes Islamic State Threat

Officials warn that IS could pose a threat to US homeland More

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Moscow says Russian troops crossed into Ukrainian territory by mistake More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocksi
X
George Putic
August 25, 2014 4:00 PM
How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that was eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports on how one band is bringing Yiddish tango to Los Angeles.
Video

Video Peace Returns to Ferguson as Community Tries to Heal

Thousands of people nationwide are expected to attend funeral services Monday in the U.S. Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri, for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The shooting touched off days of violent demonstrations there, resulting in more than 100 arrests. VOA's Chris Simkins reports from Ferguson where the community is trying to move on after weeks of racial tension.
Video

Video Meeting in Minsk May Hinge on Putin Story

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine are expected to meet face-to-face Tuesday in Minsk, along with European leaders, for talks on the situation in Ukraine. Political analysts say the much welcomed dialogue could help bring an end to months of deadly clashes between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces in the country's southeast. But much depends on the actions of one man, Russian President Vladimir Putin. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Russia in July enacted a law threatening fines for publicly displayed profanity in media, films, literature, music and theater. The restriction, the toughest since the Soviet era, aims to protect the Russian language and culture and has been welcomed by those who say cursing is getting out of control. But many artists reject the move as a patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

Security services are racing to identify the Islamic State militant who beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley in Syria. The murderer spoke English on camera with a British accent. It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for the Islamic State, also called ISIL or ISIS, alongside thousands of other foreign jihadists. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from the center of the investigation in London.

AppleAndroid