Death toll from Philippine powerful typhoon crosses 400


MANILA: 31, DECEMBER, 2021: The death toll from the powerful typhoon Rai to hit the Philippines this year has passed 400, the disaster agency said on Friday.
Rai was the 15th and deadliest typhoon to hit the Southeast Asian nation this year.
The death toll has mounted to 405 from the typhoon.
Ricardo Jalad, chief of the national disaster agency said, as many as 82 were missing and 1,147 injured.
He said over 530,000 houses were damaged, a third of which were totally wrecked, while damage to infrastructure and agriculture was estimated at 23.4 billion pesos ($459 million).
The typhoon affected nearly 4.5 million people, including about 500,000 sheltering in evacuation centers, government data showed.
"It caused massive destruction and it was like a bomb was dropped in northern Bohol," Anthony Damalerio, chief of Bohol province’s disaster agency, told Reuters.
A popular dive spot, Bohol reported 109 deaths and is seeking shelter kits, food and water, Damalerio said.
"Our problem is shelter, those who lost roofs, especially now that this is rainy season in the province," Surigao del Norte Governor Francisco Matugas told ANC news channel.
Hundreds of thousands fled their homes and beachfront resorts as Typhoon Rai ravaged the southern and central regions of the country, knocking out communications in many areas and toppling concrete power poles. The civil defense office in Manila raised the death toll from Rai to 388 with 60 others missing and hundreds hurt.
Civil defense officials said more than four million people were receiving typhoon aid in 430 cities and towns where about 482,000 houses were damaged or destroyed.
More than 300,000 people remain in evacuation camps, with more than 200,000 others sheltering in the homes of relatives or friends.
Rai was a super typhoon when it smashed into the popular tourist island of Siargao on Thursday, packing maximum sustained winds of 195 kilometers per hour (120 miles per hour).
Its wind speeds eased to 150 kph as it barrelled across the archipelago, ripping roofs off houses, uprooting trees and littering streets with debris.
More than 18,000 military, police, coast guard and fire personnel will join search and rescue efforts in the worst-affected regions, Mark Timbal, spokesman for the national disaster agency, told AFP.
“There has been severe damage” in Surigao and Siargao, Timbal said, referring to the areas that bore the brunt of the typhoon.
Dinagat Vice Governor Nilo Demerey said "Odette was so strong," using the local name for the typhoon.
Residents "are trying to repair their houses because even our evacuation centers were torn down. They can’t seek refuge anywhere else... everything was destroyed." Demerey added.
It is to be noted that, scientists have long warned that typhoons are becoming more strong and strengthening more rapidly as the world becomes warmer because of human-driven climate change. (04)

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