It is tragic to hear natural disasters and the havoc they cause.
Not up to an hour ago, tragedy struck as typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines.
Three people have been killed after Super Typhoon Haiyan, one of the most powerful typhoons ever recorded in the world, hit the Philippines.
The victims are reported to be a mother and child who drowned in South Cotabato, and a boy who was struck by lightning in Zamboanga City.
Thousands of people have been forced to leave their homes in villages in Haiyan’s path amid fears the storm damage could be the worst in the Philippines’ history.
President Benigno Aquino III assured those living in high-risk areas, including 100 coastal communities, of war-like preparations with three C-130 air force cargo planes and 32 military helicopters and planes on standby, along with 20 navy ships.
People were warned they would be made to abandon their homes at gunpoint if necessary.
“No typhoon can bring Filipinos to their knees if we’ll be united,” Mr Aquino said in a televised address.
The US Navy’s Joint Typhoon Warning Centre in Hawaii said Haiyan’s maximum sustained winds were 195mph (314kmph), with gusts up to 235mph (379kmph).
Local journalist Mike Cohen told Sky News: “We’re seeing a lot of strong winds but not a lot of rain.
“There are already reports of some landslides and very strong storm surge entering towns and villages in the path of the storm.
“Trees are falling and there is lots of damage reported across the region.”
According to Mr Cohen, power has been cut to the worst-affected areas, mainly as a preventative measure to avoid electrocution, but this was making communications difficult.
Jeff Masters, a former hurricane meteorologist who is a director at the private firm Weather Underground, warned residents to prepare for “catastrophic damage”.
He said: “195mph winds; there aren’t too many buildings constructed that can withstand that kind of wind. The wind damage should be the most extreme in Philippines’ history.”
The strength of the wind made it one of the four most powerful typhoons ever recorded in the world, and the most powerful to have made landfall, he added.
But other meteorologists forecast lower readings, saying the storm’s speed at landfall had sustained winds at 145mph (234kmph) with gusts of 170mph ( 275kmph).
Haiyan is expected to sweep through the Philippines’ central region before moving toward the South China Sea over the weekend, heading towards Vietnam.
The head of the government’s main disaster response agency in the capital Manila said people are still being moved from communities prone to landslides and flooding.
These include residents of Bohol, many of whom are still living in tents after being made homeless following an earthquake last month.
But there is hope that, as Haiyan is a fast-moving storm, flooding from heavy rain – which usually causes the most deaths from typhoons in the Philippines – may not be as bad.
Haiyan is the 24th tropical storm to hit the Philippines this year.
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