Sil Wong is a member of the relief group, EMPACT Northwest. She and several teammates returned Wednesday from a 10-day mission to the Philippines where Typhoon Haiyan has killed more than 4,000 people and left millions more injured or homeless.
Last Friday one of the strongest storms in recorded history struck the Philippines. According to the United Nations more than 11 million people are believed to be affected by Typhoon Haiyan. Over 670,000 people have been displaced. Entire towns have been devastated leaving many without water, shelter or any way of contacting their families at home and abroad.
We hear from Yeb Sano, who is in Poland serving as the head of the Philippines' delegation at the UN climate talks, and Seattle resident Justice Beitzel, who has lost five family members to the storm thus far.
Images of the swath of devastation wrought by Typhoon Haiyan in the central Philippines are reminiscent of the tsunami's aftermath in Banda Aceh, Indonesia nearly a decade ago.
And indeed, the World Health Organization grades the great typhoon of 2013 as a Category 3 disaster – its most severe category.
"The scale [of the typhoon's damage] is huge," Dr. Richard Brennan of the World Health Organization tells Shots. "It's monumental. This is one of the biggest emergencies we've dealt with in some time."
Typhoon Haiyan is battering the central Philippines with sustained winds of up to 199 mph. Meteorologists say that if initial estimates based on satellite images are borne out, it could be the most powerful storm ever to make landfall.
A stand-off between Philippine troops and Muslim rebels has entered its second day, with reports of dozens of civilians trapped or held by rebels. At least six people were killed in Monday's violence in Zamboanga city in Mindanao in the south of the country.