Less than 20 people died.
How this could have been avoided is likely a touchy subject at the moment. Even the president walked out of his meeting with the local officials to cool his head off from great dismay.
You can't get good info from the news and of course any government will has its own agenda to look good. Getting good data from 3rd world countries is also hard.
We took a direct hit (eye passed over the city) from what was at one time the equivalent of a cat 5 hurricane (Pablo) in the southern part of Negros Oriental in the Philippines last year. I don't know what strength it was by the time it got to us, but the winds were pretty damn scary. Fortunately, this typhoon was mostly wind and not much rain. The typhoon created a mess, but we were largely back to normal in one day.
The year previous to Pablo, we got hit by Sendong which seemed like the opposite of Pablo. There wasn't much wind, but the rain was heavy and steady for something like 10 hours. That rain created much more destruction and lost lives than the winds from Pablo.
So, each typhoon has its own personality. You can't do an apples to apples comparison from one storm to another. It's typical of media to make such a comparison.
The Philippines also has some logistical difficulties that India may not have. It's an archipelago of over 7,000 islands and a very poor country. India has its poor areas also, but the nation as a whole has far more resources.
The Philippines did make an effort to evacuate people and clearly the nation could have better prepared. There is always more that you can do. I don't know how this area in India compares to the Philippines, but we get hit with an average of something like 20 typhoons every year. The Philippines is among the most dangerous places on the planet for natural disasters.
Shelters a great for saving lives, and that's the most important, but it also sucks to lose your house and all your belongings. If someone is looking for a world changing innovation, then figuring out a way to make a cheap structure which could withstand the sorts of natural disasters that the Philippines gets hit with regularly would be huge.
> Most of the deaths appear to have been caused by surging seas that resembled a tsunami, flattening buildings and drowning hundreds, according to Reuters.
This supports what I mentioned earlier. The wind is bad, but in a typhoon, it's water which really ratchets up the number of casualties. Comparing winds speeds of two different typhoons isn't necessarily comparing the most destructive components.
It's easy to make armchair judgements and comparison when not armed with all the facts.
The truth is, the country will always have issues (bureaucracy, corruption, etc) dealing with these natural disasters, but combatting poverty will go much further in avoiding loss of life. The vast majority of those affected have a hand to mouth existence and have basically no choice but to live in areas that put them in the highest risk (low lying, coastal, flood prone) in structures that are all but guaranteed to fail in a storm.
Phailin maxed out at 160 mph.
That's quite a lot of difference.
That's insane. I'm sure it would rip out most testing equipment. I've seen the damage from similar micro-bursts (<200mph) in the US and nothing is left standing. And I mean nothing alive. Complete devastation. It would look like thos pictures from when the meteor hit Siberian in the early 20th century. A mess of matchsticks.
edit: updated info
Haiyan attained its peak intensity with ten-minute sustained winds of 235 km/h (145 mph)
one-minute sustained winds of 315 km/h (195 mph) and gusts up to 378 km/h (235 mph)
Still a record, but the sustained winds are more in the mid 100's rather than approaching 200. Immensely strong peak gusts. 10 minutes of that at peak energy must have seemed like a lifetime. There is no natural shelter in these situations. Truly, truly dangerous.
Edit2: like here> http://forums.mammothmountain.com/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=12869...
> Super Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines at 4am local time today with winds near 195 mph, making it the strongest tropical cyclone to make landfall in recorded world history, according to satellite estimates. That astounding claim will need to be verified by actual measurements at ground level, which should be collected over the coming days.
> The storm (known as Yolanda in the Philippines) has officially maxed out the Dvorak scale, which is used to measure strong strength using satellites. That means Haiyan has approached the theoretical maximum intensity for any storm, anywhere. From the latest NOAA bulletin:
Here is a wikipedia link to the Dvorak scale.