the Philippines


Manila, Luzon



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Tortured by Typhoons 


The disaster of 1991

On November 5, 1991, a great natural disaster occurred. 

In Ormoc City (on the west coast of the island of Leyte) a destroying flash flood killed within less than one hour approximately 8000 people and left  thousands of people homeless. In the days after the flood almost 5000 Filipinos were found dead and about 3000 were missing. Nobody of these 3000 persons were ever found and are also presumed dead. Probably brought to the sea by the 'killing flood'.


Ormoc City, 1991

A great part of the city was destroyed and thousands of houses vanished in the fast and devastating water and mud streams.  A Typhoon was one of the main actors in this drama. The water and mud streams came downwards from the hills and mountain areas in the central part of the island to the lowlands around Ormoc City and the city itself. 


Picture left: Flood in Ormoc City, 1991, November 5

What are Typhoons ?

Typhoons are tropical storms with sustained winds of 74 miles per hour or greater. The strongest ones, every year five to six in the Philippines,  cause  a lot of damage to houses and all that lives.

Typhoons in the western Pacific

Though it is said that there is not a true typhoon-season, most of the typhoons in the Western Pacific occur in the period June - November. Especially in the month August. 

Coming from the south-east, the typhoons can have a speed  of 119 to more than 240 kilometres per hour.

More disasters in the future?

In the last twenty years more and more natural disasters have occurred. The  future will probably bring more troubles. That is what the World Watch Institute (WWI) wrote in one of their reports.



More and  more heavy rainfall is a main factor for many disasters. It is the changing climate ( the higher temperature of the atmosphere) that causes more heavy rainfall and typhoons. 

December 2003

'....late at night a thundering sound came down the mountains and a few minutes later a thick layer of mud covered the houses...'

Read more about the landslides on Leyte in 2003 by clicking this button:    


Deforestation and the power of typhoons

Deforesting without replanting  young trees, created in many tropical countries situations in which the natural environment lost the function of  a storage for the heavy rainfall. Normally the forests, together with the soil, have the function of  a sponge that  'catches'  the rainfall.

After deforestation this whole system of protecting  the soil and catching the rainfall is disturbed.  This happens especially in areas with hills or mountainous landscapes. The deforestation on Leyte, together with the heavy rainfall during the typhoon on November 5 in 1991, were the main reasons of the disaster in Ormoc City.



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