Home destroyed by Super Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda, Tacloban City, Philippines
Philippine historian Ambeth R. Ocampo had a very interesting story in his column in the Philippine Daily Inquirer yesterday, 20 November. Tacloban was destroyed twice before by violent storms, in 1897 and in 1912.
Mr Ocampo quotes from an Australian newspaper, Barrier Mariner, 12 January 1898 [emphasis added]:
TYPHOON AND TIDAL WAVE IN THE PHILIPPINES. 7,000 Lives Lost. Mail advices, brought by the steamer Gaelic from Chinese and other ports in the Far East, contain details of the fearful destruction wrought in the Philippine Islands by the typhoon and tidal wave during October . It is estimated that 400 Europeans and 6,000 natives lost their lives, many being drowned by the rush of water, while others were killed by the violence of the wind. Several towns have been swept or blown away. The hurricane first struck the Bay of Santa Paula, and devastated the district lying to the south of it. No communication with the neighborhood was possible for two days. The hurricane reached Leyte on Oct. 12, striking Tacloban, the capital, with terrific force, and reduced it to ruins in less than half an hour. The bodies of 126 Europeans have been recovered from the fallen buildings. Four hundred natives were buried in the ruins.
Tacloban City, 14 November 2013
The Washington Herald of 20 November 1912 reports:
15,000 DIE IN PHILIPPINE STORM. That 15,000 persons were probably killed and wounded in a typhoon that swept the Philippine Islands last Tuesday was reported yesterday in cable dispatches to the Bureau of Insular Affairs.
His statement also suggests to me that while we have to try to analyze climatic events and calamities to see if climate change and global warming are a major factor in storms such as Haiyan/Yolanda and to ask if we humans are responsible for this, we also have to ask other questions.