It has been reported that the death toll from the deadliest typhoon to hit the Philippines this year has surged to 208, the Red Cross said Monday. Typhoon Rai ravaged the southern and central regions of the archipelago, leaving 239 injured and 52 missing, the Red Cross reported.
As Rai slammed into the country as a super typhoon on Thursday, more than 300,000 people fled their homes and beachfront resorts. “Complete carnage” is reported in coastal areas by the Philippine Red Cross.
Richard Gordon, chairman of the Red Cross, said earlier: “Houses, hospitals, schools and community buildings have been smashed to pieces.”
During the storm, roofs were ripped off, trees were uprooted, concrete power poles were knocked over, wooden homes were torn to pieces and villages were flooded — evoking comparisons with Typhoon Haiyan in 2013.
Known as Yolanda in the Philippines, Haiyan was the deadliest cyclone on record in the country, leaving more than 7,300 people dead or missing.
Red Cross report 10 dead in Dinagat Islands
Bohol — the province known for its beaches, rolling “Chocolate Hills”, and tiny tarsier primates — was one of the hardest-hit islands this time, with at least 74 people dead, provincial governor Arthur Yap told the BBC.
A powerful storm struck the Philippines with winds of 195 kilometres per hour, causing widespread damage on the islands of Siargao, Dinagat, and Mindanao.
Jeffrey Crisostomo, the provincial information officer, told reporters on Sunday that at least ten people died on the Dinagat Islands. As people struggle to find water and food, the word S.O.S was painted on a road in General Luna, a popular tourist destination on the island, where surfers and holidaymakers gathered ahead of Christmas.
Swathes of the affected areas have no communications, hampering efforts of disaster agencies to assess the full extent of the storm’s damage.
Water-refilling stations and ATMs have also been affected by the power outage.
Search and rescue efforts have been supported by thousands of military, police, coast guard and fire personnel.
Ships from the Coast Guard and Navy have been dispatched with food, water, and medical supplies, while heavy equipment — like backhoes and front-end loaders — has been dispatched to help clear roads blocked by fallen power poles and trees.
Generally, cyclones develop between July and October, which makes Rai very late in the typhoon season.
On average, 20 typhoons and storms hit the Philippines every year, wiping out crops, homes, and infrastructure in already impoverished areas.