Close to half a million people in China was expected to be evacuated as the country braces itself for a “super typhoon.”
In 2006 China was hit by the most powerful typhoon to strike the east coast of the country. Typhoon Saomai was a super typhoon that witnessed sustained winds of 195km/h. The max wind speeds that were recorded reached up to 260km/h. It hit Mariana Islands, the Philippines, Taiwan, and the east coast of China. The typhoon resulted in the deaths of 458 people. It also caused considerable damage that was estimated to be $2.5 billion.
Hurricane Irma is one of the most powerful tropical cyclones to have been recorded over the Atlantic. It developed on August 30th near the Cape Verde Islands. The Islands of Barbuda and Saint Martin in the Caribbean were among the worst hit regions. According to Prime Minister Gaston Browne, at least 95% of Barbuda has been destroyed by the hurricane and 50% of the people have been left homeless. French and Dutch governments have announced rescue missions to help those living in their territories. Florida has also suffered from considerable damage due to the hurricane. Additionally, recently, the state of Texas in United States was hit by one of the deadliest hurricane’s in its history – Hurricane Harvey. According to authorities more than 185,000 homes were damaged and 9,000 have been destroyed. Experts have claimed that Typhoon Talim is comparable to the deadly hurricanes that hit America and the Caribbean region.
Experts have claimed that typhoon Talim is forecast to be the largest typhoon to hit south east China. A tropical depression formed east of Guam on September 7. As a result, authorities have already begun evacuating thousands of residents in the region. According to estimates, at least 500,000 people are being evacuated. It is purported to have wind speeds reaching up to 220km/h. This is similar to the wind speeds achieved during the Category 4 Hurricane Irma in the United States. The typhoon is expected to make landfall in northern Fujian or southern Zhejiang. The typhoon which formed east of Philippines has been gathering strength and will hit China as a super typhoon.
Liu Aiming, chief engineer at Fujian’s meteorological bureau said that evacuation notices will be sent to around 400,000 to 500,000 people. According to her, most living in the region reside in areas that won’t be able to withstand the force of the typhoon. Authorities have also said that schools will be turned into make-shift refuges for people to seek shelter.
Aiming made it clear that the authorities will force those who are unwilling to evacuate. She said, “Talim is a giant. It will dwarf any of the others [typhoons] we’ve seen this year. If people chose not to leave, they would be forced to do so by inspection teams made up of Communist Party and government official.”
Our assessment is that there seems to a spike in the strengths of hurricanes and typhoons hitting the world. Chinese authorities have begun preparations to ensure minimal loss of life. It is quite evident from the periodicity of such aberrations that climate change is a factor to be reckoned with when we deliberate on this issue. In the past, we often saw the debilitating effect of hurricanes, storms, tsunamis etc affecting less developed countries including those in South Asia. This pattern seems to have broken with the onslaught of Irma, Harvey and Katrina which have severely affected lives in the United States.