Disasters & Accidents

Typhoon Rai kills at least 375 in Philippines: police

(Update 1: updates death toll, adds detail)

Bangkok, Dec 20 (EFE).- Police in the Philippines on Monday said at least 375 people had been killed by Typhoon Rai, which hit the central region of the archipelago between Thursday and Saturday.

Over 500 people have been injured while 56 remain missing due to the devastating typhoon, according to the latest report.

The storm left hundreds of thousands of people struggling to access electricity, food, water and health care, the Philippine’s GMA channel reported.

The typhoon, which made landfall Thursday with winds of up to 240 kmph, crossed from east to west through some nine islands, where it caused significant damage to homes and infrastructure, the channel added.

Non-profit group Red Cross spoke Sunday about the devastation of many areas of the country, where more than 442,400 people have been displaced by the typhoon according to the National Council for Disaster Risk Reduction and Management.

“Red Cross teams are reporting complete devastation in coastal areas … Homes, hospitals, schools and community buildings have been destroyed,” Red Cross Philippines chief Richard Gordon said in a statement.

The police’s figure shows a large jump compared to data confirmed by the council, which in its last update Monday morning counted 58 dead and 18 missing, in addition to 199 injured.

The council said Rai caused damage to 3,800 homes, 41 roads and 4 bridges, and left 227 towns without electricity.

The typhoon, the 15th to hit the Philippines this year, cut off communications in the Visayas and Mindanao regions.

Many provinces, including Cebu, Bohol and Guimaras, have been declared disaster areas due to the damage suffered.

An average of 20 typhoons hit the Philippines each year, the most destructive was Super Typhoon Haiyan, the largest in the recent history of the Philippines, which struck the islands of Samar and Leyte in November 2013, killing some 7,000 people and leaving 200,000 families homeless.

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


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