Typhoon Rammasun hits Philippines.
Thousands of people whose homes were destroyed by the most powerful typhoon ever recorded fled the tents they now live in as a new violent storm slammed into the Philippines.
Super Typhoon Haiyan destroyed 90 percent of the structures in the city of Tacloban in November and left more than 6,000 people dead. With Typhoon Rammasun, which is known locally as Glenda, bearing down on them on Monday night, many Haiyan survivors were again forced to seek refuge.
"People were terrified because tents were collapsing in the high winds and the area was beginning to flood," said Rhea Catada, who works for the charity Oxfam in Tacloban. “They were waiting and waiting for the government to give the evacuation order - but when it finally did come there were not enough evacuation centers.”
Only eight percent of the area’s centers were still standing after Haiyan and people were forced to shelter in a sports dome - which was unsuitable because of a large ventilation hole in its roof.
"Governments need to prioritize the construction of safe evacuation centers, update their contingency plans, if we are to be better prepared for this year’s typhoon season," said Justin Morgan, country director of Oxfam.
Although far weaker than Haiyan, Rammasun has killed at least 10 people and prompted the evacuation of around 370,000 other across the country.
In Tacloban, 5,335 families, or nearly 27,000 people, had been “affected” by the latest storm, according to Social Work Secretary Dinky Soliman.
The city is still very much recovering from November’s storm, which saw the strongest winds ever recorded in a typhoon and caused about $2.8 billion in damage.
Órla Fagan, press officer at the United Nations’ humanitarian agency in the Philippines, said Wednesday that many of the evacuated Haiyan survivors had returned to their tents after the storm passed.
Meanwhile, hundreds fled when strong wind tore tin roofs in a shantytown at the edge of Manila Bay.
With last year’s massive devastation and deaths from Typhoon Haiyan still in many people’s mind, officials said people readily evacuated after being told of the danger.
Rammasun, the Thai term for god of thunder, is the seventh storm to batter the Philippines this year. About 20 typhoons and storm lash the archipelago on the western edge of the Pacific each year, making it one of the world’s most disaster-prone countries.
The weakened typhoon was heading toward northern Vietnam or China’s Hainan Island on Wednesday, forecaster Jori Loiz told The Associated Press. He said it could regain strength while crossing the South China Sea.