Here's an interesting look at some of the reasons why the Philippines was so unprepared
for Typhoon Haiyan.
One detail in particular caught my eye. The authorities, weather forecasters and Red Cross warned people repeatedly that a dangerous storm was on its way, but as Typhoon Haiyan approached Tacloban, these warnings often fell on deaf ears.
"Some people didn't believe us because it was so sunny," said Jerry Yaokasin, vice mayor of Tacloban. "Some people were even laughing."
A pedicab driver said that on Thursday night - shortly before the monster storm struck - you could see the stars in the sky. "We thought it would just be wind and rain."
Tacloban’s mayor, Alfred Romualdez, has told CNN that part of the problem was the use of the term “storm surge” in warnings.
People didn't understand what a “storm surge” meant and couldn't envisage killer waves. If the warnings had compared it to a tsunami many more people would have survived, says Romualdez, who was himself caught up in the disaster.
Storm surges are created by weather systems forcing water onshore, while tsunamis are triggered by earthquakes and undersea landslides.
"We've done drills on tsunami. And ... almost 80 percent of them really get out," Romualdez says. “Storm surge, they don't understand."
Of course many people did heed the warnings and hundreds of thousands were evacuated, but these reports underline again just how important good, clear communication is for saving lives.