Philippine super Typhoon Rai death toll rises


MANILA – The death toll from a powerful typhoon that hit the Philippines last week continues to rise as rescuers reach more devastated areas, with more than 140 people believed to have been killed, officials said on Sunday.

About half of the 142 deaths reported so far from Super Typhoon Rai have been in the island province of Bohol in the central Visayas region, a tourist destination known for its dive sites and coral reefs.

Bohol Governor Arthur Yap said that at noon on Sunday the typhoon would have killed 72 people in the province, a toll based on field reports from community leaders.

“It is very clear that the damage suffered by Bohol is significant and comprehensive,” Mr. Yap said. He said he saw extensive destruction of coastal communities during an aerial survey aboard a military plane.

The Philippine National Disaster Agency, which often takes a long time to confirm deaths reported by authorities across the country, still reported 31 typhoon deaths on Sunday, a toll that did not reflect figures provided by Yap. and other places.

Central Cebu Province and the city of Cagayan de Oro on the island of Mindanao were also among the worst affected areas, and just off Mindanao, authorities were trying to provide aid to Siargao Island. , a popular surfing destination.

The typhoon made landfall on the island Thursday, with gusts of up to 168 miles per hour, before spreading westward across the country. Rai was classified as a super typhoon after reaching land, a designation comparable to a Category 5 hurricane in the United States.

Siargao was still isolated on Sunday. Social media discussion forums have filled with the names of people still missing.

The typhoon, known as Odette in the Philippines’ separate naming system, was the 15th to hit the country this year. It dumped heavy rains over large areas and large parts of the central and southern Philippines were damaged, with many rivers overflowing their banks.

Philippine Red Cross President Senator Richard Gordon said Rai was one of the most severe storms ever to hit the Philippines, which experiences an average of 20 typhoons per year.

“Red Cross emergency teams report complete carnage in coastal areas. Homes, hospitals, schools and community buildings have been torn apart, ”he said in a statement. “Our volunteers are providing emergency assistance to those who have lost everything, including food, clean water, first aid, medical attention and a safe place to shelter.”

The most powerful storm on record in the Philippines was Super Typhoon Haiyan, which killed an estimated 6,500 people and caused massive destruction in 2013.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has launched an emergency appeal for nearly $ 22 million to fund relief and recovery efforts of around 400,000 people in the Rai-affected Philippines. .

In Bohol, Yap said provincial workers were working overtime to restore electrical and telecommunications facilities and many residents did not have access to safe drinking water.

He said a Philippine Navy ship would leave Manila on Monday with emergency aid for Bohol, but called for more help from the national government, citing in particular the need for generators to run the stations. water filling across the island.

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