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7 responses to “Cyclone Haiyan”

  1. Graham Bell

    This is a disaster in the order of the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami.

    The Australian government’s donation of $10M. is a start but why not offer the Philippines government the immediate services of the ADF’s 3RAR soldiers ( trained parachutists), especially signallers, medics and pioneers and have them airdropped right into specific isolated villages to help the locals help themselves until the Philippines authorities get on top of this massive disaster and reach them?

    (b.t.w., it is strange that nobody in the media has mentioned that Tacloban was where the Liberation of The Philippines began in 1944)

  2. Salient Green

    No political donations from me for the next year, they’ve been converted into a typhoon donation.

  3. Mk50 of Brisbane

    This typhoon is nothing really unusual, although that it scored a direct hit on Tacloban is. Even if it reaches the fatality level of 10,000, that’s about the same number as the Great Storm of 1703 in the UK, and a thirtieth of the toll of the great Tonkin Typhoon of 1881.

    The tropical revolving storm (TRS) number and strength is actually on a declining trend, see the NOAA data. The reason this one had such an impact is that it the eye passed right over Tacloban as the TRS reached its peak strength. It was smaller and weaker than Yasi, for example.


    Typhoon Haiphont made landfall in what is now Vietnam, on 8 October 1881. 300,000 people were killed by the typhoon. The Gulf of Tonkin is a body of water between Vietnam, the Chinese Island of Hainan, and Mainland China. It provides one of the most frequently used paths for Pacific typhoons originating near the Philippines to strike the Asian mainland. On October 8, 1881, a monstrous typhoon traveled through the Gulf of Tonkin and devastated Haiphong, Vietnam and the surrounding coastal area. Some 300,000 people lost their lives as the typhoon’s storm surge flooded the low-lying city. Today, the disaster still ranks today among the greatest losses of life from any tropical cyclone worldwide.

  4. Salient Green

    Actually, Haiyan wasn’t “smaller and weaker than Yasi”.

    “Thus, Haiyan had winds of 190 – 195 mph at landfall, making it the strongest tropical cyclone on record to make landfall in world history.”

  5. Fran Barlow

    On Yasi

    Professor Jonathan Nott from the Australasian Palaeohazards Research Unit with James Cook University agrees.

    Nott says there’s no formal definition for the term super cyclone and only uses it very loosely to describe an extremely powerful event with intensities below 910 hectopascals, a measure of atmospheric pressure.

    “We don’t get those often. The strongest in Queensland was 914 hectopascals Tropical Cyclone Mahina in 1899 which hit north of Cooktown.”

    Its 350 kilometre per hour winds killed over 400 people, the largest death toll in any natural disaster in Australian history.

    “But for Queensland, Yasi is the most intense since Innisfail in 1918.”

    By way of comparison, Haiyan got down to 895hPa which makes it the strongest on record. Yasi was only CAT_4 when it made landfall. One climate scientists said haiyan would have been a “CAT_6” if they had had such a rating.

    Interestingly, Hurricane Katrina measured at Gulfport Missisippi in 2005 was only 966hPa …

    As with tsunamis, the strongest don’t always cause the most havoc. Of course, when they are very strong, and near low lying land and affect densely populated areas with fairly flimsy structures … (and in this case shortly after an earthquake in the area that damged roads and infrastructure) …

    Haiyan brought a massive storm surge as well as the rain and winds at up to 315km/h …

  6. Fran Barlow

    The terms ‘hurricane’ and ‘typhoon’ mean the same as ‘tropical cyclone’.

    Apparently the term ‘hurricane’ is of West Indian origin via the Spanish who adapted the indigenous word for ‘big wind’ (‘arukana’ IIRC). Similarly, in East Asia, the Cantonese word for ‘big wind’ can be rendered in English script as something like ‘daiphong’ — (my Cantonese students confirm this) from which ‘typhoon’ follows.

  7. Graham Bell

    Once again, many many people in the Philippines have shown tremendous resilience in the face of impossible odds …. but what about the future?

    What will happen to the survivors once the aid teams and the world’s media pack up and go home? Apart from donating money, what else is it that we in Australia can do ourselves that will help good people rebuild their own shattered lives?

    Typhoons come every year so what can be done to prevent future loss of life and destruction of the ability to make a livelihood in other communities in the Philippines?

    Why is it that the news media here talks about the Philippines only when there is a natural disaster or a political squabble? Surely we in Australia deserve to be better informed than that.