Questions of politics in typhoon aftermath

Questions of politics in typhoon aftermath

Filipinos are no strangers to big storms. Their country sits next to the world's most intense typhoon generator, a huge expanse of deep, warm ocean in the North West Pacific.

More than 20 tropical storms and typhoons buffet the islands each year. But even by Philippine standards, Super Typhoon Haiyan - or Yolanda as it is locally named - is a catastrophe of epic proportions. And the effect it has had on the country's people may have been significantly worsened by the Philippine government's siphoning of funds meant for infrastructure.

Haiyan's winds were greater than either the 2005 Hurricane Katrina or Tropical Cyclone Yasi that hit North Queensland in 2011. They may have been the strongest winds ever recorded to make landfall.

In the worst hit areas, the super typhoon destroyed 70 to 80 per cent of the houses and structures in its path. One can only imagine how it treated the people sheltering inside.

One stranded resident told a journalist the hurricane aftermath resembled an apocalyptic horror film. It's estimated the human toll in one city alone will reach 10,000.

Haiyan is now considered the most destructive natural disaster ever in the country's history.

Few people realise the Philippine islands are home to almost 100 million people, making it the 12th most populated country in the world. The vast majority live in the regional provinces outside the highly urbanised capital of Metro Manila.

Still, little news is coming from the countryside of the central Philippines, the region which bore the brunt of the typhoon. Entire provinces have been cut off from the country's main power grid.

It's an eerie silence.

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