The storm originated south-east of Micronesia, in the west of the Pacific Ocean. It developed a central eye and became a typhoon on 5th November 2013.
The Philippine government estimated that about 71,000 hectares (175,000 acres) of farmland were affected. The major rice and sugar producing areas for the Philippines were destroyed. Many coconut plantations were also destroyed. Coconuts account for nearly half the Philippines agricultural exports and the country is the world's biggest producer of coconut oil. Fishing communities were destroyed along with hundreds of fishing boats.
Many cities were devastated and left without clean water, electricity, or food. Some survivors began to loot abandoned houses and shops. Tacloban was one of the most damaged cities, with 90% of its structures destroyed or damaged.
In some coastal regions, almost every building was left flattened. Many houses had their roofs ripped off, leaving their residents with no shelter. Waves up to 15 metres high swept through built-up areas. Water supplies were polluted bringing diseases such as cholera.