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Lethal typhoon devastates Philippines and hits Vietnam

November 11, 2013 Destination ASEAN, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59Super Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest typhoons ever recorded, has devastated the central Philippines province of Leyte, popular with tourists. Reports suggest more than 10,000 people have been killed.

The lethal typhoon is now headed for Vietnam, where some 600,000 people have been evacuated.

A senior police official said yesterday that about 70% to 80% of Leyte had been destroyed by the storm, ABC News reported.

Hundreds of flights have been cancelled, many airports have been closed and travellers are left stranded. About 4 million people are estimated to have lost their homes and looters are operating. In the Philippines 6000 foreigners and locals are stranded on the popular resort island of Boracay, Britain’s Independent newspaper has reported.

Tacloban Airport in Philippines covered by debris

Tacloban Airport in Philippines covered by debris

Tour operators serving the region will be working hard today to deal with cancellations and to issue advice and updates to clients.

Super Typhoon Haiyan, which produced barely imaginable wind gusts of up to 380 km/h, may be the strongest tropical cyclone to hit land anywhere in recorded history, according to weather service estimates in the US.

Hundreds of bodies are piled on the sides of roads Leyte’s capital Tacloban, a coastal city of 220,000 people located about 580 kilometres south-east of Manila. Many other corpses are pinned under the rubble of wrecked houses, smashed to matchwood by the gusts.

The death toll includes former Australian priest Kevin Lee, 50, who achieved prominence as whistleblower about child sexual abuse within the Catholic Church. Removed from the priesthood for secretly marrying, he was living in the Philippines with his Filipino wife and their recently born first child. He reportedly drowned after disappearing in heavy surf.

Super Typhoon Haiyan was last night approaching Vietnam, where 600,000 of people have been evacuated at last report. Others are digging in and boarding up buildings. Central Da Nang and Quang Ngai provinces, just recently slammed by Typhoon Nari, are conducting mass evacuations, local Tuoi Tre newspaper reported.

The storm was expected to affect the central city of Hue and possibly Hanoi, though it has weakened since devastating the Philippines.

In Southern China, meanwhile, the typhoon brought heavy rains and cancelled flights in the island of Hainan, a tropical resort on the same latitude as Hawaii.

In Hainan’s Sanya city, more than 13,000 people have been evacuated. Over 200 flights at Hainan’s two airports, in Sanya and Haikou, have been cancelled or delayed. Additionally, over 400 boats have been called back to port, the South China Morning Post reported.

Written by Peter Needham

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