Typhoon Hagupit hits Philippines in annual tragedy

Destruction. Wreckage. Recollections. Violent winds have entered the archipelago nation of the Philippines. Top wind speeds of 105 miles per hour are tearing apart trees, breaking down power and ripping apart tin roofs in the coastal provinces of this affected home of the Filipinos.

 

A little over a year ago, Typhoon Haiyan struck primarily the country of Philippines, but also several other portions of Southeast Asia. It was known to be one of the strongest and deadliest typhoons ever recorded in history in the Philippines, killing nearly 6,500 people.

Filipino and junior Bea Basilio explained, “Philippines is well known for its natural disasters, especially an increasing amount of typhoons due to its vulnerable location. But so far typhoon Haiyan has been the most disastrous.”

On Dec.1 Typhoon Hagupit began as just an ordinary tropical storm. However, the next day the conditions worsened and slowly by Dec. 4 it became a category 5 super typhoon. The eastern part of the country was later threatened with rough seas and robust winds. Therefore, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) warned its residents to expect water levels to reach up to four meters high in the eastern islands of Philippines.

“My helper’s family lives in the city of Tacloban and it was so sad to hear that the damage from the winds of the typhoon had completely destroyed homes in the area,” senior Justin Peterson said.

More than one million people were forced to move out of their homes during the course of this disaster. Because of toppling roofs, people have relocated into shelters to be protected from the devastation. As a result, schools and businesses were closed in Samar Island, Biliran and Tacloban.

A man holding a sign after 27 people were killed in Samar Island. Photo by Environmental Practitioners Association. Creative Commons license

The typhoon eventually weakened to a less destructible tropical storm after taking the lives of 27 people individuals from Samar Island. The typhoon also flattened homes, toppled trees and cut power and communications. As of Dec. 8, Hagupit has moved towards the capital city, Manila, putting a population of nearly 12 million in danger.

A junior from International School of Manila, Stefan Suarez, said, “Ironically the typhoon did minimal damage or maybe even none to the capital city. We were very fortunate that we did not feel the effects of the typhoon in ISM. School was cancelled on Dec. 8 and Dec.9 for preventive measures, because the predicted damage was supposedly catastrophic, yet we only experienced rain.”

Typhoon Hagupit faded further on Dec. 9. The nation has once again begun its journey of recovery. Rescue workers are struggling with the aftermath to reach towns in central provinces where thousands of homes were smashed. Lives, families and a nation have been broken yet again by the annual rains and winds from the all-too-common typhoons of the Philippines.

Author: Stefan Kingsley

Stefan Kingsley is a Senior and a Reporter for The Eye. This is his first year on staff and sixth year at SAS. He is originally from Chennai, India but has lived in Singapore for the past 14 years. In his free time, Stefan enjoys playing tennis and running at the track. kingsley40617@sas.edu.sg