Three people have been killed in one of the most powerful typhoons on record that has stricken the Philippines.
Super Typhoon Haiyan slammed into the Philippines coastal communities on the central island of Samar, about 600 kilometers (370 miles) southeast of the capital Manila, early Friday with maximum sustained winds of about 315 kilometers (195 miles) an hour. The Philippine government said three people died and another went missing after he fell off a gangplank in the central port of Cebu. The death toll is expected to rise, as the officials are not able to instantly contact the worst hit areas. “We’ve had reports of uprooted trees, very strong winds... and houses made of light materials being damaged,” said Philippine Red Cross chief Gwendolyn Pang. The Red Cross official added that rescue teams and equipment have been put at different places, noting, “but at the moment we can't really do much because of the heavy rain and strong winds. There is no power.” The Philippines faced the world’s most powerful storm of 2012, when Typhoon Bopha left about 2,000 people dead or missing on the southern island of Mindanao. However, Haiyan’s wind might is said to have made it one of the four strongest typhoons ever recorded in the world. According to the US Navy’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center, Haiyan created wind gusts of around 380 kilometers an hour on Friday morning. President Benigno Aquino had on Thursday warned his countrymen to make all possible preparations for the storm. “To our local officials, your constituents are facing a serious peril. Let us do all we can while (Haiyan) has not yet hit land,” he said in a televised speech. Authorities said over 125,000 people in the most vulnerable areas had been moved to evacuation centers before Haiyan hit and millions of others stayed in their homes. An average of 20 typhoons batter the Philippines every year.