They are the same type of storm – the name changes based on where they occur. Hurricanes originate in the Caribbean, typhoons originate from the China Sea and cyclones originate from the Indian ocean. Category 5 is the highest category for storms (they go from 1 – 5).
Storm tracks can be forecasted up to 72 hours. However, it is difficult to accurately predict where, when and at what strength a tropical cyclone will strike. Major hazards that can be produced by a tropical cyclone are storm surges (an increase in the level of the sea), large amounts of rain which can lead to (flash) floods or landslides, and wind which can lead to structural damage and loss of life. Prominent causes of death and injury are electrocutions from downed power lines, flying debris, or blunt trauma from falling trees.
Young children are especially vulnerable to the immediate effects of a severe cyclone – they can be easily swept away in floods, killed by collapsing buildings or hit with lethal flying debris. Young children may not know how to swim yet or be too weak to fight against the tide. They may not know what to do if their homes are swept away, or where to go if they become lost in the chaos.
Water, sanitation and health are major issues after cyclones and floods, and a speedy response is crucial to prevent the spread of diseases, such as cholera or malaria.