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Typhoon devastates the Philippines and should now reach further part of Southeast Asia

Less than a month after experiencing one of the most devastating earthquakes of its history, the Philippines have been again be hard hit by a giant typhoon which claimed life of 1,200 people in the central part of the country. It also reached Vietnam and Southern China and could bring massive pouring in Laos and Cambodia.

MANILA- Three weeks ago, the central part of the Philippines, the Visayas Islands were hit by a massive 7.2 magnitude earthquake which left parts of Cebu island destroyed as well as the nearby island from Bohol which is home to one of the country’s iconic landscapes, the Chocolate Hills.

Last Friday, a typhoon devastated Central Philippines again, barreling through six islands and causing massive deaths and destructions as winds reached on average 235 km per hour. Typhoon Haiyan would be considered as a hurricane of the strongest category in the United States. The typhoon was particularly deadly in the city of Tacloban in Leyte Province. The Red Cross estimated on Saturday that 1,200 people had been killed, 1,000 of those alone in the city of Tacloban. But officials indicated on Sunday that the death toll will certainly surpass 10,000 people, officials indicated on Sunday as many villages in the province reported casualties. Aerial views showed also sinking boats while thousand of homes have been destroyed and agricultural areas devastated.

According to the Philippines National Disaster Agency, around four million people are affected by the typhoon which was more powerful than the 2004 tsunami. It seems that this typhoon has been the strongest ever recorded in history.

Bodies were seen floating in flooded streets as waves battered by the winds surged up to six meters high. Some 800,000 people have been evacuated as well. Saving people is becoming difficult as most means of communication as well as electricity and water supply. Philippines President Benigno Aquino III indicated that the government’s priority was to restore power and communication to let relief and medical assistance assisting victims. Tacloban airport has been for example totally destroyed. With looting happening in Tacloban, the President is likely to impose the Martial Law and will send the army in the affected regions.

UNICEF has been calling for donations as its resources have been already stretched out by two other catastrophes in a time span of two months –an armed conflict in Zamboanga in Southern Phiippines and the Bohol earthquake. The UK has indicated to send immediately six million pounds in aid while the EU released € 3 million as emergency help. The USA also expressed its readiness to provide material and financial assistance. The pentagon will send naval and air equipments to assure communication to the affected areas. Damages and losses are however likely to reach billion of dollars.

The typhoon weakened Sunday to 163 km/hour as it approached central and northeastern Vietnam where authorities evacuated over 600,000 people. In China, the Island of Hainan has also been put on orange alert as the typhoon hit the island last night. All the ports have been closed to traffic.

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Luc Citrinot a French national is a freelance journalist and consultant in tourism and air transport with over 20 years experience. Based in Paris and Bangkok, he works for various travel and air transport trade publications in Europe and Asia.

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