The scary extent of Typhoon Haiyan, which devastated the Philippines, is apparent in this shot from the International Space Station. From the orbital perch about 250 miles (400 kilometers) above Earth, the estimated Category 5 typhoon fills most of the view. On the ground, wind speeds reached as high as 235 miles an hour (378 kph), reports say.
NASA and others are saying that the storm is likely the biggest one on record to make landfall. As of this morning, the official death count from a Philippines disaster agency is 2,275, but it will be a while before numbers become more clear. Initial estimates of the death toll ranged as high as 10,000, but in media reports from this morning, Philippines president Benigno Aquino III estimated deaths would be between 2,000 and 2,500.
Meanwhile, the United Nations is asking for $301 million to assist the estimated 11 million people who were affected by the storm, including more than 670,000 who have fled from their homes to escape the powerful surge. Assistance agencies are struggling to get people the help they need.
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“There are still many places that are not accessible yet,” Elizabeth Byrs, a spokeswoman for the World Food Program said in Geneva, said in a New York Times report. The WFP plans to charter boats to send more supplies, she added.
More views from orbit are visible in this past Universe Today story by Ken Kremer.