Disasters & Accidents

Philippines accelerates aid for victims of devastating Typhoon Rai

Bangkok, Dec 21 (EFE).- Philippine emergency teams were working to deliver humanitarian aid to areas most affected by Typhoon Rai, which struck the central region of the country between Thursday and Saturday and left at least 375 people dead.

Five days after Rai first made landfall on the island of Surigao, in the southeast of the archipelago, some of the areas still remain cut-off and without power.

Food and water for survivors are beginning to trickle down to the areas worst affected by the typhoon.

Preliminary data indicates that at least 375 people have lost their lives on the islands struck by Rai, the deadliest typhoon to hit the country in years, the Philippine National Police said late Monday.

At least 56 people remain missing and around 500 were injured during Rai’s passage, according to the authorities.

For its part, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, which is making slow progress with the verification of data on victims of the natural disaster, has put the death toll in its report at 156, with another 37 missing and 245 injured.

According to the NDRRMC, 481,196 people have been displaced from their homes and most of them are in one of the 2,526 shelters set up by the authorities.

The agency’s data indicates that over 1.1 million people have been affected by Rai, which has damaged more than 6,100 houses, 55 roads and four bridges.

Damage to infrastructure and agriculture is estimated at almost 390 million Philippine pesos ($7.78 million), according to provisional data.

The typhoon, which made landfall on Thursday with wind gusts of up to 150 miles per hour, crossed some nine inhabited islands in the archipelago from east to west, complicating data collection.

The typhoon, known as Odette in the country and the 15th to hit the Philippines this year, has struck at a time of fear and uncertainty due to the new omicron variant of the coronavirus.

An average of 20 typhoons hit the Philippines yearly.

The most destructive, so far, has been Super Typhoon Haiyan – the largest known to make landfall – which struck Samar and Leyte islands in November 2013, killing some 7,000 people and leaving 200,000 homeless.

The Philippines is one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change due to natural disasters and sits on the so-called “Pacific Ring of Fire,” an area that sees about 90 percent of the planet’s seismic and volcanic activity. EFE


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