In the Philippine archipelago, the passage of typhoon Rai at the end of the week killed at least 375 people, according to a latest report established by the national police, Monday, December 20. This powerful weather phenomenon is one of the deadliest in recent years in the country. At least 500 people were also injured and fifty-six are still missing, police added.
A previous report reported around 200 dead, but the latter is increasing as relief reaches the disaster areas. The storm ripped roofs, uprooted trees, knocked down utility poles, demolished wooden houses and flooded villages.
Entire regions, where survivors urgently need clean water and food, have been ravaged. More than 380,000 people had to flee their homes and coastal areas when the typhoon hit on December 16.
A “complete carnage”, according to the Red Cross
The typhoon, accompanied by winds that reached 195 kilometers per hour (km / h), swept through the central and southern Philippines at the weekend, before receding on Saturday. Aerial photos made public by the army showed considerable damage in the regions crossed. The Philippine branch of the Red Cross reported a “Complete carnage” in coastal areas.
Thousands of soldiers, police and firefighters have been deployed to the most affected areas to participate in search and rescue operations. Army and Coast Guard ships were dispatched to bring water, food and medicine. Heavy machinery also arrived to clear the roads blocked by trees and electricity poles.
“The road will be long and difficult for people to be able to rebuild and take charge of their lives”, had already declared Alberto Bocanegra, head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in the Philippines. The organization launched an appeal to raise 20 million Swiss francs (19.3 million euros) to finance emergency relief and reconstruction.
Communications in several parts of the affected areas were cut, making it difficult for rescue workers. Electricity is also out of service, affecting water filling stations and ATMs. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte visited some affected areas on Saturday, pledging an aid fund of 2 billion pesos (35 million euros).
“Completely razed” islands
The country has a disaster management system that warns of an approaching storm, allowing people at risk to reach evacuation centers before the cyclone hits the coast.
One of the islands hardest hit by Rai is Bohol – known in particular for its tarsiers, a primate present in the archipelago – where at least 94 people have died, according to the governor of the province, Arthur Yap, who updates the review on his Facebook page.
Significant destruction was also recorded on the islands of Siargao, Dinagat and Mindanao. “The Dinagat Islands have been completely razed”, sorry Sunday Jeffrey Crisostomo, press manager of the province, which counts at least fourteen dead. A distress signal “SOS” was painted on a road in General Luna, the tourist town of Siargao, where surfers and vacationers had flocked before Christmas. This new typhoon is hitting a tourism sector which was already struggling to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.
About twenty storms per year
Typhoon Rai crossed the islands at 150 km / h and finally reached the South China Sea on Saturday, heading towards Vietnam. Rai is a particularly late-season typhoon, with most tropical cyclones in the Pacific Ocean forming between July and October.
Scientists have long warned that typhoons are getting stronger and stronger as man-made global warming accelerates. The Philippines, ranked among the countries most exposed to climate change, is swept by nearly twenty tropical storms or typhoons each year which generally destroy crops, homes and infrastructure in already poor regions.
The storm recalled the supertyphon Haiyan, which hit the archipelago in 2013. This cyclone, the deadliest ever recorded in the country, left more than 7,300 dead or missing.
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After the passage of the Rai in the Philippines, a “complete carnage” on the coasts and a toll that exceeds 375 dead