Massive Superstorm Crushes the Philippines, Leaving Many Fearing the Worst

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Nov. 8 2013 9:26 AM

Massive Superstorm Crushes the Philippines, but Death Toll Unclear

187265805
In this handout from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Super Typhoon Haiyan moves towards the Philippines November 7, 2013 in the Pacific Ocean

Photo by NOAA via Getty Images

Typhoon Haiyan, feared to be one of the most powerful storms, if not the most powerful, ever to make landfall, battered the Philippines with rains and wind gusts topping 200 miles per hour today. The worst of the superstorm appeared to have passed over the island nation as of late Friday local time, but it will likely be some time—maybe even days—before anyone has a full grasp of just how much damage the typhoon, known locally as Yolanda, has done. Here's the latest update on the storm, via the BBC:

[The storm] lashed central islands including Leyte and Samar, and the northern tip of Cebu—including Cebu city, the country's second largest with a population of 2.5 million. Two people were electrocuted in storm-related incidents and another was killed after being struck by lightning, according to officials. Seven others were reported injured.
Reports say power and communications have been almost completely lost in Samar, Leyte and Bohol. ... Waves as high as 15m (45ft) could be seen around the coast, and there was 400mm (15.75 inches) of rain in places.
Advertisement

Authorities warned that more than 12 million people were at risk from the storm. The good news is that Haiyan, which is the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane, did not directly hit Manila, the nation's capitol, and that advanced forecasts gave authorities time to evacuate hundreds of thousands of people from the storm's path. The bad is that the superstorm's path took it across areas that still haven't recovered from last month's deadly 7.3-magnitude earthquake that left more than 200 people dead and 350,000 people displaced.

So, for now, we'll have to nervously wait and see just how much death and damage Yolanda brought with her. Meteorologists have warned that the storm could be as devastating as last year's Typhoon Bopha, which killed at least 1,000 people in the southern Philippines.

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

TODAY IN SLATE

War Stories

The Right Target

Why Obama’s airstrikes against ISIS may be more effective than people expect.

The One National Holiday Republicans Hope You Forget

It’s Legal for Obama to Bomb Syria Because He Says It Is

I Stand With Emma Watson on Women’s Rights

Even though I know I’m going to get flak for it.

Should You Recline Your Seat? Two Economists Weigh In.

Doublex

It Is Very, Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice

Or, why it is very, very stupid to compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice.

Building a Better Workplace

In Defense of HR

Startups and small businesses shouldn’t skip over a human resources department.

Why Is This Mother in Prison for Helping Her Daughter Get an Abortion?

It’s Fine to Use Facebook to Serve People With Legal Papers, Court Rules

  News & Politics
Foreigners
Sept. 23 2014 6:40 PM Coalition of the Presentable Don’t believe the official version. Meet America’s real allies in the fight against ISIS.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 23 2014 2:08 PM Home Depot’s Former Lead Security Engineer Had a Legacy of Sabotage
  Life
Outward
Sept. 23 2014 1:57 PM Would a Second Sarkozy Presidency End Marriage Equality in France?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 23 2014 2:32 PM Politico Asks: Why Is Gabby Giffords So “Ruthless” on Gun Control?
  Slate Plus
Political Gabfest
Sept. 23 2014 3:04 PM Chicago Gabfest How to get your tickets before anyone else.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 23 2014 8:38 PM “No One in This World” Is One of Kutiman’s Best, Most Impressive Songs
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 23 2014 5:36 PM This Climate Change Poem Moved World Leaders to Tears Today
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 23 2014 4:33 PM Who Deserves Those 4 Inches of Airplane Seat Space? An investigation into the economics of reclining.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 23 2014 7:27 PM You’re Fired, Roger Goodell If the commissioner gets the ax, the NFL would still need a better justice system. What would that look like?