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Why the Philippines' deadly typhoon has two names


A soaking wet child sits on a post on a flooded street in suburban Manila on August 8, 2012. More than one million people in and around the Philippine capital battled deadly floods on August 8 amid relentless monsoon rains.



Most meteorologists will tell you the flood crisis now paralyzing the Philippines' capital was started by a typhoon named Saola.

But not in the Philippines. They'll tell you the misery in Manila is the work of a typhoon named Gener.

So which name is correct?

Both are.

Internationally recognized names for major weather phenomena are approved by a United Nations agency, the World Meteorological Organization, which has carved the planet into multiple zones. Countries within that zone get to offer up names from their native tongue.

That's why storms that terrorize Asia aren't named Paulina or Patrick.

They might be called "Gulap" (Thai and Lao for "rose") or "Nangka" (Malay and Indonesian for "jackfruit"). Both are pulled from the current list, which shows that the name Saola was submitted by the Vietnamese government. (You can check out the full list of names here.)

But that's not good enough for the Philippine government, which is adamant that its yearly barrage of typhoons receive names familiar to Filipinos. The nation's central weather agency, which goes by the acronym PAGASA, maintains its own list.

The result: the Philippines has been hit this year by storms named Enteng, Ambo and Carina. 

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Or, as the rest of the world called them, Khanun (a Thai name), Mawar (a Malaysian name) and Talim (a Filipino name).

Yes, that's right. Even when the rest of the world uses a name submitted by the Philippines, the government still insist on using a Filipino-friendly name of its own choosing.