On Nov 8, senior Marjelou Bandija got a nightmarish call from her sister, who was clearly shaken and very scared, that informed her that her mother in the Philippines was hit by the storm that occurred that day. Thankfully, her mother was safe.
“My mom was bunkered up in preparation for the storm,” said Bandija. “She managed to get out of the house right before it fell.”
Her mother’s house was in Bohol City, one of the areas hit by the Haiyan Typhoon that formed around Nov 3 and dissipated around Nov 11. She was forced to move to Cebu City, 4 hours away.
“She lives at my grandparents’ house now while they clean up the affected areas,” said Bandija.
Her mother was one of the many people forced to take refuge elsewhere to escape the rubble and disaster in the aftermath of the storm.
A typhoon is a rapidly rotating storm system characterized by strong winds and a spiral arrangement of thunderstorms that produce heavy rain. They usually form over tropical areas and are capable of generating high waves damaging storm surges and tornadoes.
This typhoon is the second deadliest one on record, killing at least 3,621 people alone according to CBC World News.
These numbers, however, are ticking up as news trickles in from more rural settlements.
Haiyan was the second category 5 typhoon to strike the Philippines this year according to the Huffington Post.
This is based on the Saffir-Simpson scale that counts with five different classifications for the intensity of a hurricane, with a Category 1 being the lowest maximum winds and a Category 5 being the highest.
Besides the dead, almost 13 million people have been affected one way or another by the storm, according to the UN.
The homeless record shot up from 600,000 to 1.9 million as a result of the disaster and more than 1 million houses that have been displaced. The UN has estimated a recovery bill of 321 million dollars.
The most catastrophic damage occurred throughout much of the Leyte and Samar Islands, where cities and towns were largely destroyed.
The worst damage occurred along the coastlines—mostly in villages reliant on the sea for fishing, virtually wiping out their local economy.
While the scale of this storm was unusual, natural disasters are unfortunately familiar to the Philippines.
The country has among the world’s highest incidences of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions according to The Economist. Landslides have pushed people to the low-lying coast, where many rely on the sea for trade and fishing.
Several countries, including the US Military, have flocked to the ruins of the archipelago in a massive relief effort, offering food and water as well as emergency medical services to the areas.
However, relief is difficult at this time due to the massive destruction that has hindered transportation of vital goods.
Students can contribute by sending in donations to humanitarian organizations like the Red Cross or the World Food Programme on their websites.