What were the primary effects of Typhoon Haiyan?
Typhoon Haiyan, a category 5 typhoon, struck the Philipines on 8th November 2013 at 4.40 am. The tropical storm originated in the northwest Pacific Ocean. It is one of the most powerful typhoons to affect the Philippines. Wind speeds of 314 kilometres per hour (195 miles per hour) were recorded.
The primary effects of Typhoon Haiyan were:
- strong winds battered people’s homes
- people were made homeless, particularly around Western and Eastern Visayas
- electric was interrupted
- airport badly damaged
- roads were blocked by fallen trees and other debris
- Leyte and Tacloban experienced a 5-metre storm surge, and 400mm of rainfall flooded an area of up to 1km inland
- 90% of Tacloban was destroyed
- 6190 people died
- 4.1 million people made homeless
- 14.1 million people affected
- The overall cost of damage was around $12 billion
- 1.1 million tonnes of crops destroyed
- 1.1 million houses damaged
- 1 million farmers and 600,000 hectares of farmland affected
The strong winds battered people’s homes and even the evacuation centre buildings. Those made homeless were mainly in the Western and Eastern Visayas. Power was interrupted, the airport was badly damaged, and trees and debris blocked roads. Leyte and Tacloban had a five-metre storm surge, and 400 millimetres of heavy rainfall flooded one kilometre inland. Ninety per cent of the city of Tacloban was destroyed.
Debris lines the streets of Tacloban, Leyte island. This region was the worst affected by the typhoon, causing widespread damage and loss of life. Caritas is responding by distributing food, shelter, hygiene kits and cooking utensils. (Photo: Eoghan Rice – Trócaire / Caritas)
Although the harvest season was over, rice and seed stocks were squandered in the storm surges. This led to a loss of $53 million US dollars. Over 1/3 of farmers and fishermen lost their income. This led to a total loss of $724 million.
What were the secondary effects?
Survivors fought for food and supplies. Eight people died in a stampede for food supplies. Seawater, along with chemicals from industry and sewerage systems, contaminated surface and groundwater.
Fishing waters were contaminated as an oil tanker ran aground, causing an 800,000-litre oil leak. Fishing had to stop due to the waters being contaminated.
What were the immediate responses?
800,000 people were evacuated following a televised warning by the president. Many people found refuge in a stadium in Tacloban. However, many people died when it was flooded. The government provided essential equipment and medical supplies. To reduce looting, a curfew was introduced 2 days after the typhoon.
Once the main airport was reopened three days later, emergency aid arrived. Power was restored in some regions after a week. Within 2 weeks, one million food packs and 250,000 litres of water were distributed.
Over $1.5 billion of foreign aid was pledged. Thirty-three countries and international organisations promised help, with rescue operations and an estimated US $ 88.871 million.
Typhoon Haiyan relief effort
What were the long-term responses?
Build Back Better is the government’s response to the typhoon. Launched in 2014, it intended to upgrade damaged buildings to protect them from future disasters. They have also set up a no-build zone along the coast in Eastern Visayas, a new storm surge warning system has been developed, and mangroves have been replanted to absorb future storm surges.