Sunday, December 9, 2012

Philippines in "State of Calamity" After Super Typhoon Bopha Brings Devastation

 Second Update: Although downgraded to a tropical storm, Bopha continues to pack a punch as it brings heavy winds and rains to the northern part of the Philippines, which was relatively unaffected by the typhoon during its first hit on the southern islands only a few days ago. Tropical Storm alerts are in place and officials warn of low-lying flooding and potentially deadly landslides throughout the region. The official death count is 950, with hundreds more still missing or unaccounted for in the wake of the killer storm.

Emergency Bulletin: Weather forecast models predict the remnants of Typhoon Bopha will make a dramatic U-Turn, possibly striking the Philippines for the second time in only four days. Government officials are scrambling to prevent further tragedy should the storm hit again. Some models have the storm taking a turn out to the South China Sea, but either way, the storm will probably bring more heavy rains to a region already flooded and in ruins, with more strong winds and possible landslides and dangerous flooding.

President Benigno Aquino III of the Philippines has declared an official "State of Calamity" across the Southeast Asian nation after Super Typhoon Bopha brought death, misery and destruction to the country.

The death count currently stands at 560 but officials have stated that number will continue to rise precipitously as rescue workers scramble to uncover survivors left in the rubble of buildings blown down by the intense winds or washed away by the record-breaking storm surge.

The president's declaration of a state of national calamity will now allow local governments to access funds for rescue, relief and rehabilitation efforts in areas left in complete devastation from the nightmarish storm. One of the worst hit areas was the poor, remote Compostela Valley region on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao, where thousands of shanty homes were swept away, many with entire families inside seeking refuge from the killer storm.

Illegal logging and mining in the region is being  blamed for the high number of fatalities in the southern Philippines where typhoon Bopha also created a very wide “horror-river” in New Bataan. Heavy rains from the typhoon swept down hills that have been stripped of trees and topsoil due to deforestation and illegal mining. The flood waters created an "inland tsunami" that washed across hundreds of thousands of square kilometers of land, destroying everything in its path.

Meteorologists stated that the conditions surrounding Typhoon Bopha were highly unusual, with a confluence of weather events creating a "Super Typhoon", not unlike the strange sequence of events that brought about "Super Storm" Sandy that devastated the Eastern Seaboard of the United States in October. Weather experts warn the trend of highly destructive storms will more than likely increase dramatically, as the intensification of global climate change wreaks havoc on weather patterns, leading to more and more "super" storms. 

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