Bangkok, Dec 22 (EFE).- The Philippines declared a state of calamity in six regions affected by the devastating Typhoon Rai that left hundreds dead as it passed through the center of the country last week, as rescue services continue their efforts to access affected areas.
President Rodrigo Duterte formalized the declaration, during his weekly address Tuesday night, which allows local governments to use respective emergency funds to help communities devastated by the typhoon.
The declaration also allows prices of basic products to be controlled and will accelerate rescue and relief efforts in the regions of Mimaropa, Central Visayas, Caraga, Western Visayas, North Mindanao and Eastern Visayas, the president said.
The typhoon, which made landfall Thursday with wind gusts of up to 240 kmph, crossed from east to west through some nine islands where it has caused significant damage to homes and infrastructure, in addition to leaving 375 dead and hundreds injured, according to police.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said there are more than 500,000 displaced people and more than 1 million affected by the typhoon.
The council said Wednesday that Rai damaged more than 15,000 homes, leaving 239 towns without electricity and causing damage to 67 affected roads and nine bridges, as well as affecting five airports and 122 seaports.
Due to the slow process of confirming victims, the disaster council said it estimates deaths at 177, as well as 38 missing and 275 injured – data lower than those offered by the police.
Shantytowns and poor-quality buildings exacerbate the ravages of typhoons, which are becoming increasingly violent in the Philippines due to the climate crisis.
The onslaught of the typhoon, known as Odette in the Philippines – the 15th to hit the country this year – has struck at a delicate moment due to fear over the Covid-19 omicron variant. EFE