Super Typhoon Haiyan Batters Philippines

TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Typhoon Haiyan, the world’s strongest storm this year, struck the central Philippines on Friday, forcing millions of people to flee their homes as powerful winds of up to 313 kph (195 mph) tore buildings apart, cutting power lines.

Super Typhoon Haiyan Batters Philippines

Typhoon Haiyan, the strongest typhoon in the world this year and possibly the most powerful ever, battered the central Philippines on Friday, forcing millions of people to flee to safer ground.

A category-5 super typhoon, Haiyan bore down on the northern tip of Cebu Province, home to the country’s second-largest city as well as a popular tourist destination, after lashing the islands of Leyte and Samar with winds up to 313 kph (195 mph) and 5-6 metre (15-19 ft) waves.

At least three people were reported to have been killed by the storm, officials said.

More than 12 million people were said to be at risk, including residents of Cebu City, which has a population of around 2.5 million, and areas still reeling from a deadly 2011 storm and a 7.1-magnitude quake last month, AFP reported.

“The super typhoon likely made landfall with winds near 195 mph (313 kph). This makes Haiyan the strongest tropical cyclone (typhoon) on record to make landfall,” said Jeff Masters, a hurricane expert and director of meteorology at US-based Weather Underground.

Typhoons and cyclones of that magnitude can blow apart storm-proof shelters due to the huge pressure they create, which can suck out walls and blow roofs off buildings.

About a million people had taken shelter in more than 20 provinces, after Philippine President Benigno Aquino appealed to people in Haiyan’s path to evacuate from danger spots, such as river banks, coastal villages and mountain slopes.

The storm’s path includes the resort island of Boracay and other holiday destinations.

Twenty navy ships, three C-130 air force cargo planes and 32 military helicopters and aircraft were on standby. An army spokesman on southern Mindanao island said a man was killed in a shelter area when he was electrocuted by a toppled power line.

Schools, offices and shops in the central Philippines were closed, with hospitals, soldiers and emergency workers were preparing for rescue operations.

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