The super-typhoon Haiyan caused severe damage on the Philippines. Among the most affected regions is the island of Leyte with the city of Tacloban and its more than 220,000 inhabitants. At a fund-raising event on Tuesday, November 19, 2013, 19.30 hrs on KIT Campus South (Redtenbacher-Hörsaal, building 10.91), KIT scientists will provide information on facts of the disaster, on the formation of tropical cyclones, and damage analysis. Interested citizens are cordially invited. During the event organized by the KIT Climate and Environment Center, funds will be raised for the reconstruction of the University of the Philippines Visayas – Tacloban College.
“At the moment, local emergency relief is of highest priority,” says geographer Jürgen Christmann. Before he started to work at the KIT Institute of Geography and Geoecology/WWF Institute for Floodplains Ecology, he spent five years as a consultant for geographic information systems and remote sounding at a university in Tacloban. “Immediately afterwards, however, infrastructure will have to be restored. This will also include rapid reconstruction of education institutions. Here, we want to help.” At the event, Christmann will speak about the susceptibility of the Philippines to disasters and about his personal relationship to the country and the people. “Natural disasters, such as floods and storms, turn into a hazard as soon as humans and their goods are affected. The risk for a region among others depends on its geographical exposure and its vulnerability.”
In addition, meteorologist Bernhard Mühr from the KIT Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research will speak about tropical cyclones and answer the question whether such weather events are also possible in Europe. “Haiyan was the fourth strongest tropical cyclone ever observed – and the strongest ever hitting land. Mean wind speeds were in the range of 300 km per hour,” Mühr says. “The Philippines are located in a region with a very high risk of cyclones: Every year, the archipelago is affected by an average of nine tropical storms or typhoons.”
On behalf of the Center for Disaster Management and Risk Re-duction Technology (CEDIM), an interdisciplinary research institution of the Helmholtz Centre Potsdam – German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ) and Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in the area of disaster management, James Daniell will give an overview of the damage caused by typhoon Haiyan: “14 million people are affected by the storm, these are far more people than the population of Baden-Württemberg. The typhoon caused more than 4000 dead people. One million buildings were destroyed or damaged. Presumably, the damage will total more than EUR 10 billion,” Daniell says referring to first estimates of CEDIM.