With winds of 195 mph, Super Typhoon Haiyan (known locally as Yolanda) which struck the Philippines yesterday evening, is predicted to be the largest storm ever recorded to make landfall, surpassing Hurricane Camille in 1969.

A tropical storm expert speaking to the BBC said, “Super Typhoon Haiyan really is a beast. One of the strongest storms ever recorded with sustained winds of 190 mph, gusting even higher.”

It is reported that more than 12 million people are at risk from the storm, including the population of the country’s second largest city Cebu. Schools and offices have been closed, with local flights suspended. Thousands of people have been evacuated and thousands more have fled their homes as the category 5 storm approached. Power lines have been overturned as 15ft waves crashed against the islands of Leyte and Samar in the central Philippines.

ShelterBox currently has a team based in the country, responding to a 7.2-magnitude earthquake that hit Bohol on October 15. They will now assess need associated with the typhoon.

The team in country took shelter last night, as did thousands from the coastal areas of Bohol, a popular tourist destination that has barely had time to recover from the earthquake.

ShelterBox Response Team volunteer, Dyer says, “The storm has now passed our area, and our team is doing well. But we are already getting reports of homes being washed away in flooding, and local communications are down.”

Meteorologists are predicting that the storm will head out across the South China Sea.

Our thoughts are with everyone affected by this catastrophe. And our first priority will be to identify the most vulnerable people impacted and provide aid as quickly as possible.

Learn more about the on the ground response by Rotary International partner ShelterBox.