It’s been years since I’ve seen the movie Twister, but one of Helen Hunt’s final lines haunts me to this day: “You haven’t seen it miss this house, and miss that house, and come after you.” She’s talking about the massive (fictional) tornado that killed her character’s father, but I can’t help but think that many of those affected by the typhoon that recently struck the Philippines must feel the same way. An interactive map just released by the Red Cross shows how unpredictable and destructive storms have become. The map used data from the Copernicus Emergency Management Service (EMS) to visualize overall building damage patterns in Tacloban, one of the hardest hit cities. Viewed in MapBox, the destruction is overwhelming and random, with clusters of untouched buildings surrounded by flattened ones.


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When viewing a map of the former bustling fishing city, one is greeted with large splotches of red and orange. These colors indicate “totally affected” and “highly affected” buildings in the town of about 220,000 residents. As your eyes move north and further inland, small patches of yellow and grey appear erratically among the other colors. These graphics indicate “possibly affected” buildings and “unknown damage” respectively.

For someone like me, who’s never been to the Philippines, perhaps the most powerful thing about this map is the ability to zoom in and see the names of roads, schools, and churches–places people lived, loved and took for granted–that are now just piles of rubble.

“The EMS showed that the storm flattened more than 700 of Tacloban’s residential buildings, and damaged 1,200. The storm also destroyed five industrial facilities, seven educational buildings, and blocked 18 roads,” reports Fast Company.

On Tuesday, President Benigno Aquino told CNN that officials now put the typhoon’s death toll at 2,000 to 2,500. With no place to go, the affected–many women and children–are now homeless and begging for help on the streets.

It’s now more important than ever that the international community step in to help with the recovery. If you’d like to do your part, you can donate to charities in the region online through this page set up by Global Impact.

+Red Cross Map

Via Fast Co.Exist