Residents of southern Asia and eastern United States battled storms that caused mass destruction and death to both sides of the world.
Typhoon Mangkhut, known locally as Ompong, left destruction across the Philippines, Hong Kong, Guam and the Marshall Islands. Winds peaked up to 180-mph with a 550-mile circumference and was the strongest storm of 2018.
The casualty count is at least 88 in the Philippines alone. The total number of deaths is still unclear, as the storm continues to move across the continent. It hit the northern area of the Philippines hardest, but brought heavy rain and tropical-storm winds to the rest of the country as well.
The Philippines is in the “Ring of Fire,” a geologically volatile area of the world, so the country sustains about 20 storms each year. Because of the size and economy of the country, many citizens have houses on the sides of mountains, volcanoes, and steep hills. Mangkhut caused many of these to crumble, burying dozens of people in mass graves.
Mikayla Hagen, freshman Outdoor Leadership Ministry major, has lived in the Philippines since she was five. Her family, who live in Manila, experienced flooding but is still safe. Because of the extensive damage and lack of cell phone service, she has not heard a lot of news.
“Large storms are relatively frequent. While my life was never in danger due to a storm, we have had at least three trees fall on our house over the years from typhoons. A lot of my friends, however, have been in imminent danger from storms,” Hagen said.
Many people Hagen knew were forced to weather the storm in bamboo huts if they could not make it to a concrete shelter.
On Sept. 20, days after the worst of the typhoon left the Philippines, another massive landslide in central Philippines killed at least 18 people, according to Time Magazine. Rescuers were sent out to aid as many people as possible, but with continued rain and shaking terrain they had to move slowly due to danger of another landslide.
In addition to landslides, the typhoon caused a heavy loss of crops. Many local farmers rely on their rice crop for income, but much of it has been destroyed. Such economic issues, as well as property damage and transportation difficulties, will last long after the winds stop. Hagen said that often organizations will give rice, supplies, and temporary shelter to people during the relief effort.
On the other side of the globe, the United States has been battling its own storm. Hurricane Florence destroyed many roads, buildings, and lives. The storm sustained winds of 110 mph, but the larger concern has been its intense flooding. The storm resulted in rainfall levels of up to 40 inches in some areas. Rescuers scrambled to save as many as possible from the wreckage of the winds and rising water.
Caitlyn Logan, sophomore nursing major, lives in Matthews, North Carolina, south of the city of Charlotte. While her house was not damaged by flooding, the nearby town of Monroe experienced severe flooding and road damage. Logan said that people were being evacuated to Charlotte because of its high elevation and minimal flooding.
“The governors were very active in warning people and making the decisions to evacuate early. I know our governor requested extra military personnel before the storm hit to be prepared for rescues and help with the coastal towns’ destruction,” Logan said.
Global relief efforts have begun to help victims of both storms as the number of people affected continues to rise. “There will be months of rebuilding and helping the community recover from the effects of the hurricane,” Logan said.