Cyclone Phailin made landfall in India Saturday night, causing massive damage and forcing 800,000 to evacuate. Before the storm struck, authorities were comparing it to a 1999 storm that killed over 10,000 in the same region. But Phailin's impact wasn't as bad as anticipated: five have so far been reported dead, and there's reason to believe the death toll won't rise much higher than that. In part, this is because the cyclone -- which filled up almost the entirety of the Bay of Bengal -- weakened before making landfall. The New York Times also credits India's preparation efforts for the outcome:
There are many reasons for the change, but a vastly improved communications system is probably the most important. Nearly a billion people routinely use mobile phones in India, up from fewer than 40 million at the turn of the century. Even many of the poorest villages now have televisions, and India’s media market is saturated with 24-hour news channels that have blanketed the nation’s airwaves with coverage of the storm.
Many villagers refused to leave land and livestock during the worst of the storm, according to many reports. But almost none were unaware of the coming danger. And that is a huge change.
The Philippines, meanwhile, experienced its 19th storm of the season. Typhoon Nari, which struck Saturday, killed at least 13, flooded farmlands and destroyed thousands of homes. Authorities say the storm displaced over 43,000 people; 1,900 boat passengers are currently stranded at scattered ports.
In both countries, cleanup efforts are well underway today. Below, a look at what those hit hardest are dealing with:
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