Last year, Typhoon Yolanda the most powerful Typhoon to ever hit land, devastated the Philippines destroying over 1 million houses and taking up to 7,300 lives.
Now 13 months later, the people of the Philippines are once again preparing for an extremely powerful Typhoon, following the same route as Typhoon Yolanda, set to hit land tomorrow. Typhoon Hagupit, which means 'Smash' in Filipino and is locally named Typhoon Ruby, has been estimated to carry winds up to 150mph and is currently around 400 miles from the Eastern coast of the Philippines. Storm experts have confirmed that Typhoon Hagupit has decreased in intensity, being downgraded from a category 5, 'Super' Typhoon – but despite this, the storm is still classified as a category 4 Typhoon, where the potential damage caused can be described as catastrophic.
Estimated to hit land on Saturday evening (local time) it is thought that Typhoon Hagupit will clear the Philippines as late as Wednesday as it slowly makes it destructive path over the rough terrain. As the Typhoon storms further inland, concerns shift from that of exceptionally high winds and storm surges up to 3.7 metres high, to that of extremely heavy rainfall. The slower a storm is, the more intense the rainfall will be and there is a major threat of landslides and life threatening flash floods occurring inland and causing fatal damage.
The majority of the country has been preparing for the inevitable storm since mid-week after it was confirmed by experts that Typhoon Hagupit was heading for the Philippines and set to affect the areas still recovering from last years devastating effects. For those living in the Samar Province, this is a particularly distressful time as they look to be the first in the Typhoon's firing line, and they therefore are a priority in evacuating efforts. Many are fleeing to safe homes, bordering up homes and panic buying stocks of food in preparation for the coming destruction and the countries military have been preparing evacuation centres and trying to maintain a sense of calmness in such a tumultuous time.
For those who survived Typhoon Yolanda, they are once again reliving the sheer horror and unease felt at this time – the air is currently described as “still, heavy and humid - just how it felt last time.” This is certainly no time to be at sea, and we hope that any sailors and boat owners in the vicinity have been vigilant in ensuring they have appropriately moored their boats and taken to safety.
The people of the Philippines will be in our thoughts over the next few days of destruction and fear.