Nine years ago on Nov. 8, Typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) swept across the Visayas and Palawan. In terms of one-minute sustained winds, as estimated by the Hawaii-based Joint Typhoon Weather Center, it was the most intense tropical cyclone worldwide in 2013. In 2020, typhoon Goni’s stronger sustained winds relegated Yolanda to being the second strongest land falling tropical cyclone on record.
I could not forget “Yolanda,” as I was serving then as Press Secretary to President Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino III.
In a special radio-television broadcast on Nov. 7, President Aquino urged the people to follow the warnings issued by the weather bureau including the storm surge warning. Translated into English, this is what he said, according to Malacañang’s Official Gazette:
“As you know, Yolanda has entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility. As with last year’s Typhoon Pablo, I thought it best to speak to you to emphasize the gravity of the calamity our countrymen will face in these coming days, and to ask of everyone cooperation and solidarity.
“Storm signal number 4 has been — and will be — raised over some areas because of this typhoon. Current data indicates that Yolanda will be stronger than Pablo; we pray that because of its speed, it will not linger over any of our provinces and int