Metro Manila · Safety Tips for Typhoons

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Typhoons are often making landfall in the Philippines and might affect Megacity Manila. Here is what you should know about typhoons and how to stay safe before, during, and after the storm.

What is a typhoon and who is affected?

Typhoons are tropical cyclones that form in the western Pacific Ocean. Typhoon season is roughly between June and November, with September being the month most prone to typhoons in the Philippines. The archipelago receives the majority of landfalls and often records the highest number of casualties and the most damage. Other regularly impacted countries are China and Japan, Vietnam, Taiwan, and Korea.

The most affected areas in the Philippines are the eastern Visayas and northern and central Luzon. An average of 19 tropical cyclones or storms reach the so-called Philippine Area Of Responsibility per year, with 6 to 9 making landfall. Typhoons here are called Bagyo. The country regularly experiences deadly storms: in the last ten years alone, there were at least five cyclones which caused more than 1,000 deaths each. The deadliest storm was typhoon Thelma in 1991, causing up to 8,000 deaths.

Safety Guide

  • Typhoons are always announced beforehand, with public storm warning signals ranging from 1 to 4, 4 being the highest. 
  • The best thing to do is to stay at home when the storm hits the city. Classes usually are suspended when there is a storm warning, and many offices cancel work.
  • Always make sure that you stock a food and beverage ration for a couple of days at home. Keep a flashlight at an easily accessible place at your home. You may also prepare a survival kit with a first aid kit, whistle, bottled water, a portable radio, batteries, canned food and a can opener. It comes in handy during brown-outs, storms, and other calamities.
  • If you live in a condominium you are quite on the safe side. Just make sure that your windows are closed. If you live in a house, check the roof, doors, and windows and see if anything needs to be fixed. If you have high trees, you might want to cut parts of them.
  • Evacuate if you live in a danger zone, e.g. near rivers, coastal areas, or lowlands.
  • Monitor the developments via radio, TV, or Internet, e.g. via weather.com.ph, Google Public Warnings or the public weather forecast PAGASA, which provides constant twitter updates.
  • In case of flooding, plug out all electrical supplies or turn of the main power switch. Put valuable belongings in a higher ground.
  • After a typhoon: Stay away from hazardous areas, don't wade in water, and look out for damaged electrical cables. Check your house for damages and, in case it got flooded, have your electric appliances inspected before using them again.
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+++ Update Tuesday, 14 December 2014 +++ In its latest report on effects of Typhoon Ruby, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) speaks of 18 deaths and 916 injured persons. 33,000 families are still being served inside and outside evacuation centers.

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+++ Update Saturday, 8 November 2014 +++

Recovery and rehabilitation efforts are still ongoing in areas devastated by super typhoon Yolanda that hit the Philippines on November 8, 2013. Here is an update on what has been done and what still needs to be done one year after the disaster.

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Typhoon Glenda (international name: Rammasun) has left hundred thousands of households in Metro Manila and Luzon without electricity, and brought life to a halt on July 16. Fortunately though, the Philippines did not experience the kind of devastation caused by typhoon Yolanda last year.