Philippines typhoon Rai toll rises to 208 dead

The human toll caused by Typhoon Rai amounts to 195 dead in the Philippines, announced Monday the national police, which makes this powerful natural phenomenon one of the deadliest in recent years in the country.

At least 239 people were injured and 52 are missing following Rai’s devastating passage through the southern and central parts of the archipelago, the national police added.

More than 300. 000 people fled their homes on Thursday as the typhoon made landfall in the center of the country.

The Philippine branch of the Red Cross has reported “complete carnage” in coastal areas.

Residents of the town of Dapa, on the island of Siargao, gather some belongings after their homes were destroyed by Typhoon Rai on 19 December 2021 (AFP – Roel CATOTO) The storm ripped roofs, uprooted trees, knocked down electricity poles, demolished wooden houses and flooded villages – reminiscent of the “super typhoon “Haiyan which hit the archipelago in 2013.

Called Yolanda in the Philippines, Haiyan was the cyclone the deadliest ever recorded in the country, making more than 7. 239 dead or missing.

One of the islands hardest hit by Rai is Bohol – known in particular for its tarsiers, a primate endemic to the archipelago – where at least 52 people have died, Provincial Governor Arthur Yap said on his Facebook page.

– “SOS” –

Significant destruction was also recorded on the islands of Siargao , Dinagat and Mindanao, the most affected Thursday when the storm hit the country with winds of 93 kilometers by hour.

At least ten people died in Dinagat, confirmed Jeffrey Crisostomo, the press officer of the province, to AFP on Sunday.

An “SOS” was painted on a road from General Luna on the island of Siargao on 19 December 2021 (AFP – Roel CATOTO) The distress signal “SOS” was painted on a road in the tourist town of General Luna on the island of Siargao – where surfers and vacationers have flocked before Christmas -, people struggling to find water and food.

Means of communication in many parts of the affected areas s were interrupted, making it difficult for emergency responders to assess the extent of the damage.

Electricity is also out of service, affecting water filling stations and ATMs .

Thousands of military, police, coast guard and firefighters were deployed to carry out the search and rescue work.

Food, water and medical supplies were supplied, transported by coast guard vessels. Material to clear roads blocked by utility poles and fallen trees has also been sent.

Rai is particularly late in the season. Most tropical cyclones in the Pacific Ocean form between July and October.

Scientists have long warned that typhoons become increasingly powerful as global warming accelerates.

The Philippines, ranked among the countries most exposed to climate change, is swept by nearly 19 tropical storms or typhoons every year which usually destroy crops, homes and infrastructure in already poor regions.