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Over 1200 feared killed as monster typhoon ravages Philippines

Last updated on: November 09, 2013 21:29 IST

Over 1200 feared killed in monster typhoon

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Over 1,200 people have been feared killed in the Philippines due to Super Typhoon Haiyan, one of the worst typhoons in history.

The typhoon, probably the strongest storm ever to make landfall, battered the central part of the nation with winds upto 315 kmph, forcing millions to take shelter.

It could take days to asses the trail of destruction.

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Image: Residents rush to safety past a fallen tree during strong winds brought by Typhoon Haiyan that hit Cebu city, central Philippines, Friday
Photographs: Zabder Casas/Reuters

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The storm ripped apart buildings and triggered landslides as it ploughed across the country's central islands.

Officials said more than 12 million people were at risk, but the storm's rapid passing could limit its impact, BBC reported.

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Image: A man walks past a tree uprooted by strong winds brought by super Typhoon Haiyan in Cebu city.
Photographs: Zabder Casas/Reuters

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Over 1200 feared killed in monster typhoon

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"We expect the level of destruction caused by Typhoon Haiyan to be extensive and devastating, and sadly we fear that many lives will be lost," Save the Children's Philippines director Anna Lindenfors told BBC.

There were reports of buildings being ripped apart, flash floods and landslides. Schools and offices were closed, while ferry services and local flights were suspended. Hospitals and soldiers were on stand-by for rescue and relief operations, BBC reported.

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Image: A mother takes refuge with her children as Typhoon Haiyan hits Cebu city on Friday
Photographs: Zabder Casas/Reuters

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Over 1200 feared killed in monster typhoon

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Power and communication lines were also cut in some areas.

Eduardo del Rosario, head of the disaster response agency, told the Associated Press that early evacuations and the speed at which the typhoon swept across the Philippines, may have helped reduce its destructive potential, BBC reported.

"It was frightening. The wind was so strong, it was so loud, like a screaming woman. I could see trees being toppled down," said Liwayway Sabuco, a saleswoman from Catbalogan, a major city on Samar, AFP reported.

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Image: A fisherman carries his net after making it safely back to shore after a strong winds from Typhoon Haiyan battered Bayog town in Los Banos, Laguna city, south of Manila, on Friday.
Photographs: Charlie Saceda/Reuters

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Over 1200 feared killed in monster typhoon

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The death toll is expected to rise, with disaster relief officials particularly concerned for isolated communities in Leyte and Samar provinces on the far east of the country, reports added.

Meteorologists had earlier warned that the storm could be as devastating as Typhoon Bopha in 2012, which ravaged parts of the southern Philippines and left at least 1,000 people dead, BBC reported.

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Image: A resident walks along a shoreline as strong winds brought by super Typhoon Haiyan battered San Roque town, Legazpi city, south of Manila
Photographs: Earl Recamunda/Reuters

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Over 1200 feared killed in monster typhoon

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Haiyan -- equivalent to a category five hurricane -- is now heading towards Vietnam and southern China.

The storm made landfall on the Philippines shortly before dawn, bringing gusts that reached 379 km/h, waves as high as 15m (45ft) and up to 400mm (15.75 inches) of rain in places, the report added.

Jeff Masters, meteorology director at the private firm Weather Underground, said in a blog post that the damage from Haiyan's winds must have been "perhaps the greatest wind damage any city on Earth has endured from a tropical cyclone in the past century", BBC reported.

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Image: Typhoon Haiyan hits the Philippines in this weather satellite image, courtesy of the Japan Meteorological Agency
Photographs: Reuters

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Over 1200 feared killed in monster typhoon

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BBC correspondents stated that while the country is better prepared than for previous storms, it is not clear whether even buildings being used as storm shelters can withstand these winds.

In its path are areas already struggling to recover from a deadly 7.3-magnitude earthquake last month, including the worst-hit island of Bohol, where about 5,000 people are still living in tents.

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Image: Residents walk along the coastal village while strong winds from Typhoon Haiyan battered Bayog town in Los Banos, Laguna, south of Manila, on Friday
Photographs: Charlie Saceda/Reuters

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Govenor Roger Mercado of Southern Leyte, a province in Eastern Visayas near the storm's path, said on Friday morning that fallen trees had made all roads impassable , CNN reported.

"We don't know the extent of the damage," Mercado said. "We are trying to estimate this. We are prepared, but this is really a wallop."

With sea travel suspended in many areas, more than 3,000 travelers were stranded in ports, the council said, CNN reported.

In a speech on Thursday, Philippines President Benigno S Aquino III warned residents of the "calamity our countrymen will face in these coming days."

"This is a very real danger, and we can mitigate and lessen its effects if we use the information available to prepare," he said.

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Image: A stranded passenger sleeps at the lobby of Ninoy Aquino International airport in Pasay city, after nearly 200 local flights were suspended due to Typhoon Haiyan on Friday
Photographs: Romeo Ranoco/Reuters

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Authorities had aircraft on stand-by, ready for rescue missions, and officials had placed relief supplies in the areas that were expected to get hit, Aquino said.

"The effects of this storm can be eased through solidarity," he added.

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Image: A volunteer packs rice inside a Department of Social Welfare and Development warehouse before shipping them out to the devastated provinces hit by Typhoon Haiyan, in Manila on Friday
Photographs: Romeo Ranoco/Reuters

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