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Geographically doomed and hobbled by poverty, Philippines buffeted by regular storms

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    Survivors walk through the rubble of damaged homes and a ship that was washed ashore in Tacloban city, Leyte province, central Philippines on Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013. The city remains littered with debris from damaged homes as many complain of shortages of food and water and no electricity since Typhoon Haiyan slammed into their province. Haiyan, one of the most powerful storms on record, slammed into six central Philippine islands on Friday, leaving a wide swath of destruction and scores of people dead. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)The Associated Press

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    A Filipino boy carries bottled water amongst the damaged houses where a ship was washed ashore in Tacloban city, Leyte province, central Philippines on Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013. The city remains littered with debris from damaged homes as many complain of shortages of food and water and no electricity since Typhoon Haiyan slammed into their province. Haiyan, one of the most powerful storms on record, slammed into six central Philippine islands on Friday, leaving a wide swath of destruction and scores of people dead. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)The Associated Press

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    A boy carries relief goods, walking past the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan, in Tacloban city, Leyte province, central Philippines on Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013. Typhoon Haiyan, one of the most powerful storms on record, slammed into six central Philippine islands on Friday, leaving a wide swath of destruction and scores of people dead.(AP Photo/Aaron Favila)The Associated Press

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    Local and foreign medical teams prepare to board a Philippines air force C-130 transport plane in Manila, Philippines, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013, in search of victims in the areas devastated by Typhoon Haiyan. Haiyan, one of the strongest storms on record, slammed into six central Philippine islands on Friday leaving a wide swath of destruction and scores of people dead. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)The Associated Press

While Typhoon Haiyan appears to be the deadliest natural disaster on record to hit the Philippines, the country is no stranger to major storms.

Doomed by geography and hobbled by poverty, the Philippines has long tried to minimize the damage caused by the 20 or so typhoons that hit the sprawling archipelago every year. But despite a combination of preparation and mitigation measures, high death tolls and destruction persist.

The Philippines' location in the northwestern Pacific puts it right in the pathway of the world's No. 1 typhoon generator, according to meteorologists.

The country of more than 7,000 islands is hit by more storms each year than any other nation — about four times more than countries around the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, said government meteorologist Jori Loiz. It's often the first to welcome storms that eventually hit Vietnam and China to the west, and Taiwan, Hong Kong and Japan to the north.

The Philippine archipelago is also located in the Pacific "Ring of Fire," where earthquakes and volcanic activity are common. A strong quake last month that killed more than 220 people and destroyed thousands of homes in the central Philippines was sandwiched between two powerful typhoons — Haiyan and Usagi, which nipped the northern Philippines in September.

As many as 10,000 people are believed to have died in Typhoon Haiyan, which slammed into six central Philippine islands on Friday.