Thousands have evacuated, but millions still sit in the path of Super Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest tropical storms ever recorded, as it hurtles toward the Philippines.
Though more than 3,800 people had been evacuated as of Thursday November 7, millions more are battening down, with no place to evacuate to or no time to get there, CNN and other media reported. Directly in its path are the 200,000 people who live in Tacloban City, on the coast of Leyte Island, CNN said.
At 500 miles wide and packing winds of 150-190 miles per hour—depending on its strength when it hits land—the storm, which is equivalent to a Category 5 hurricane, could do severe damage, authorities said.
“It’s a very poor country and there is not really any place for these people to go because they are on an island," said Michael Palmer, a meteorologist at the Weather Channel, to NBC News. “There was a similar typhoon that struck in 1990 which killed 700 people so you are going to see that here, maybe even worse.”
Among the most vulnerable are those in Bohol Province who have been living in tents since a 7.1-magnitude earthquake crumbled buildings in mid-October. The quake killed more than 200 people, CNN reported. Although they are not in the storm’s direct path, the behemoth tempest is expected to pummel the region.
President Benigno Aquino asked for prayers and called for calm, The Wall Street Journal reported. The storm is also known as Yolanda.
"The effects of this storm can be eased through solidarity,” he said. “Let us exhibit calm, especially as we buy our primary necessities, and as we evacuate to safer areas.”