Super Typhoon Slammed into the Central Islands of the Philippines
Manila (Philippines). Typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan) category 5, which experts say may probably be the strongest tropical cyclone to hit land anywhere in the world in recorded history, slashed central Philippines with its maximum sustained winds 315 kph, cutting communications and blocking roads. It is estimated that there are 12 million people in the 20 provinces along the path of the typhoon, now heading towards Vietnam, Laos, and southern China.
More than 100 casualties have been reported. Among the worst hit areas were the eastern island of Leyte and the coastal city of Tacloban, which saw buildings flattened in a storm surge. Approximately 750,000 people were evacuated before the typhoon lashed out, thus prevented more casualties, though death toll is expected to rise as communications are gradually restored.
Sr. Maria Americo, General Councillor for Formation, who at this moment is in Canlubang for a formative encounter with the community animators and the FMAs, wrote us the news: "In Cebu, the seminar organized by the Cultural Association of Salesian History (ACSSA) has just recently concluded and among the participants were FMAs who were not able to leave due to cancellation of all flights. In Negros Occidental, in our school, St. Mary Mazzarello, the roof of the library was stripped off and flew away. In Cebu-Minglanilla, at Mary Help of Christians School, the two gymnasiums and all the classrooms on the ground floor are occupied by evacuees. The FMAs are now very busy cooking food and distributing basic necessities to them, as well as listening to and consoling them in these difficult moments. There is no electricity and they are afraid that the water supply would run out. Among these evacuees are families of our students, oratorians, and school staff. The FMAs who have relatives in the Visayas are still finding it hard to establish communications with them. In the island of Mindoro, the parents of two FMAs were admitted in the hospital. The strong winds were also felt in Manila and the typhoon had its final landfall in Palawan. Sr. Sarah Garcia, the provincial superior of the Philippine province, is in constant communication with all the FMA communities."
The damages to both lives and properties are catastrophic. We will continue the updates as soon as we receive news from our Sisters in the Philippines.