Typhoon Rai Toll Rises as Affected Filipinos Call for Help | Weather News
The death toll from the heaviest typhoon to hit the Philippines this year has passed 100, official counts said on Sunday, as the government scrambles to provide emergency food assistance to the country’s most devastated areas.
The total number of reported deaths stands at 108, according to official data cited by AFP.
More than 300,000 people fled their homes and resorts when Typhoon Rai devastated the southern and central parts of the archipelago.
The super typhoon, which hit the country on Thursday with a wind speed of 195 kilometers per hour (120 miles per hour), ripped roofs and toppled concrete utility poles while cutting communications and electricity.
Arthur Yap, governor of the popular tourist destination of Bohol, said at least 72 people were dead, 10 more were missing and 13 injured. He suggested that the death toll could rise further significantly as some areas remain inaccessible to emergency and disaster management personnel.
Yap said only 33 of 48 mayors were able to report to him due to disrupted communications.
Al Jazeera has learned that in parts of Bohol, residents were forced to climb onto their rooftops as the water rose early on Friday.
Thousands of military, police, coast guard and firefighters are deployed to assist with search and rescue efforts in the worst affected areas.
Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade also said in a statement on Sunday that President Rodrigo Duterte had ordered to direct the resources needed to help those in need.
“Rest assured, we will deliver,” Tugade said.
Residents of Surigao city, capital of Surigao del Norte province, told ABS-CBN news channel on Saturday that many of them who have lost their homes have still not received a home. aid from the national government two days after the devastation.
“We would like to ask the national government to intervene, to help us here. We have no communication at the moment. The food we prepared for the evacuees was spoiled by the typhoon, ”Surigao del Norte vice-governor Geed Gokiangkee told ABS-CBN.
In neighboring island province of Dinagat, Deputy Governor Nilo Demery also reportedly said on Saturday that around 95 percent of his area had been destroyed. At least six people were reportedly killed in areas already reached by provincial authorities, but many parts of the province were still inaccessible.
Demery had to go to Surigao town to ask for help for his province because the communication lines were cut. Demery told reporters he was concerned there was a shortage of food in his province.
A Philippine Navy ship carrying goods and other relief would leave for Bohol on Monday, Yap said, after earlier declaring a state of calamity on the island.
There was also widespread destruction on the islands of Siargao, Dinagat and Mindanao, which were most affected by the Rai when it struck the Philippines.
Aerial photos shared by the military showed severe damage in the town of Siargao de General Luna, where many surfers and vacationers had flocked before Christmas, with buildings stripped of their roofs and debris littering the ground.
Dinagat Governor Arlene Bag-ao said on Saturday the damage to the island’s landscape was “reminiscent if not worse” than that caused by Super Typhoon Haiyan in 2013.
Haiyan, called Yolanda in the Philippines, was the deadliest cyclone on record in the country, killing more than 7,300 or missing.
Rai’s wind speed decreased to 150 km / h (93 mph) as he passed through the country, pouring torrential rains that inundated villages, uprooted trees and smashed wooden structures.
It emerged over the South China Sea on Saturday and headed for Vietnam.
The Philippines – ranked among the most vulnerable countries in the world to the impacts of climate change – is hit on average by 20 storms and typhoons each year, which typically wipe out crops, homes and infrastructure in already impoverished areas.