JUST months after moving to Vietnam, former Adver reporter Matthew Edwards is preparing for Typhoon Haiyan to hit this weekend.
Matt, 25, and girlfriend Kate Lister, 24, are currently living in Da Nang having moved from Ho Chi Minh City to an apartment near the beach just three weeks ago.
The couple have been stocking up on supplies in preparation for Typhoon Haiyan to hit the area on Sunday.
It is currently battering the central Philippines with sustained winds of 195mph. Meteorologists say that if initial estimates based on satellite images are borne out, it could be the most powerful storm ever to make landfall.
Matt, who worked at the Adver for three years before leaving in September to begin a new life in Vietnam, said: “When we arrived in Da Nang three weeks ago, the city was just recovering from the aftermath of Storm Nari, which had hit the city just a few days before. Having visited the city in July before moving out, it was strange to see it so downbeat and ravaged by the storm.
“On the drive from the airport to our hotel we could see trees that had been blown down, signs ripped apart and many houses missing tiles from their roofs. The whole city looked quite a mess.
“Since then there have been two more storm warnings that have been reported in the local papers out here but neither have come to fruition. One missed us and the other was downgraded into a depression so we just had some wet weather. So when we first started hearing about this storm Haiyan, we were not too sure how to react. As the week has gone on though the news reports have been making the picture a bit clearer and having woken up this morning to see how badly the Phillipines has been hit by the storm, it has definitely got us worried.”
Matt and Kate have spent the past few days shopping for provisions and discussing with friends who has the best apartment to stay in when the storm hits.
“We have worked out it is probably ours as we are on the third floor and have a few developments between us and the immediate coastline,” said Matt.
“The supermarket we went to was quiet, not the panic you expect just days before such a big storm, and overall in the city there does not appear to be a lot of concern for what is coming. We stocked up on all the usual bits like canned food, water, pasta. I think the best thing to do is prepare for the worst so we are thinking of a scenario where we might not have electricity or running water for a number of days.
“Now it is about sitting and waiting to see what happens. We are hoping the storm will either miss us completely or at least die down, but if it does hit, we are as prepared as we can be. We have spoken to our families and told them not to worry if they don’t hear from us for a couple of days, but that we would contact them as soon as we could to let them know we are ok.
“I don't think we were expecting this kind of incident just a couple of months after we got out here. We knew we were coming out in the rainy season but this is something completely different. We will just keep our eyes on the news and see what happens.”
The authorities have warned that more than 12 million people are at risk from the storm - the equivalent of a category five hurricane.