In the Philippines, the death toll from Typhoon Rai worsens, with nearly 100 dead

Nearly one hundred people have been killed in the Philippines as a result of Typhoon Rai, the most powerful to hit the country this year, according to official counts released Sunday, December 19. Relief efforts are trying to provide food and water to the devastated islands.

The governor of the tourist island of Bohol (center), Arthur Yap, announced on his Facebook page that 63 people had died in his province, according to data communicated by the mayors. In the Dinagat Islands, the head of the press for the province, Jeffrey Crisostomo, announced ten deaths. This brings the number of reported deaths to 99, according to the latest official figures. The toll could worsen as rescue teams reach areas devastated by the typhoon.

The typhoon, accompanied by winds reaching 195 kilometers per hour (km / h), swept through the central and southern Philippines on Thursday and Friday, blasting rooftops, tearing utility poles and cutting communications, before to move away on Saturday in the South China Sea. Aerial photos made public by the army showed considerable damage in the regions crossed. Some 300,000 people have had to flee their homes.

“The road will be long and difficult”

Houses destroyed by the passage of the typhoon, in Talisay, in the Philippine province of Cebu, Saturday, December 18, 2021.

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 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”said 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.

An overview of the affected areas showed “Very clearly that [les Philippins avaient] suffered greatly in terms of destroyed houses and agricultural losses ”, lamented Mr. Yap. Thousands of gallons of water were delivered after power cuts disrupted water filling stations, he added.

Twenty tropical storms per year

Residents of the tourist island of Bohol in the central Philippines were rescued on December 17, 2021 after flooding trapped them in their home.

The islands of Siargao, Dinagat and Mindanao have also suffered extensive destruction. Aerial footage released by the military shows severe damage in the town of General Luna on the island of Siargao, where surfers and vacationers had flocked for the holiday season, with roofs torn off and debris littering the area. ground.

In the Dinagat Islands, the damage is “Equivalent, if not worse”, to those caused by the supertyphon Haiyan in 2013, according to the governor of the province, Arlene Bag-ao. Haiyan, known as Yolanda in the Philippines, was the deadliest cyclone in the country, killing 7,300. In the town of Surigao, at the northern end of the island of Mindanao, shards of glass from shattered windows, corrugated roofing sheets, power lines and other debris were strewn in the streets.

Rai crossed the islands at 150 km / h, pouring torrential rains, uprooting trees and destroying wooden structures. It reached the South China Sea on Saturday and was heading towards Vietnam. Rai is a particularly late-season typhoon. Most tropical cyclones in the Pacific Ocean form 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 World with AFP

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In the Philippines, the death toll from Typhoon Rai worsens, with nearly 100 dead

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