A tropical disturbance that began to brew in the Pacific Ocean on July 9 has quickly escalated to a typhoon known as Rammasun. It is now responsible for more than 30,000 damaged homes and leaving about 151 people dead in over three different countries including China, Taiwan, and the Philippines.
Rammasun began just off the coast of the Micronesian Island of Chuuk. By July 10, the tropical depression, which was nearing the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam, was upgraded to the status of tropical storm 09W and preceded on its way towards the Philippine Islands with winds of about 150 kilometers per hour or about 93 mph.
“Typhoons are a common thing in the Philippines. We have about four or five every year,” said Sid Francis Balubal, a senior from the Philippines studying psychology.
Rammasun cut a path through the south island of Luzon on July 14 and caused an evacuation of over 530,000 people, according to CBC News in Canada.
Genesis Cahigas, a freshman from Singapore studying biochemistry, said, “This typhoon wasn’t expected. There was a mango tree in my home province that has been there for over 30 years and this typhoon knocked it over — now its gone.”
“The people in the south aren’t suited for these typhoons. Most of the houses are made of wood and tin, not concrete,” said Jashon Fabia, a sophomore from the Philippines studying music.
Government officials claimed to be more prepared this time around after the devastating aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, which hit the Philippines in November of 2013. Citizens in coastal areas were evacuated to avoid landslides and excessive flooding.
After hitting the Philippines, typhoon Rammasun began to make its way towards China and Southeast Asia and brought torrential rains and destroyed over 10,000 homes in southern China by July 18, reported AP. It is recorded as the strongest typhoon to hit southern China in 41 years and caused an evacuation of about 608,000 people, AP also reported.
As of July 22, the death toll had risen to over 150 people according to USA Today.