Typhoon in the Philippines: Super Typhoon Rai (Odette) death toll rises further as areas remain cut off from aid


Super Typhoon Rai – known locally as Odette – has claimed at least 375 lives since it ravaged the archipelago late last week, CNN affiliate CNN Philippines reported, citing police Philippine National (PNP). At least 515 people are injured and 56 are still missing, PNP said.

More deaths are expected to be confirmed as rescue operations continue. But aid workers face the difficult task of reaching some areas that are isolated due to debris-filled and flooded roads, some with broken phone and internet connections.

Philippine Red Cross President Senator Richard Gordon said Tuesday that five bridges in Palawan were destroyed by the storm. Almost a million people live in the Western Province, according to official 2020 figures.

“The houses are completely destroyed. We are trying to send urgent supplies including water, food and medicine,” Gordon said. “The communities have been completely cut off.”

Appeal to the international community, Gordon said funds for emergency rescue efforts were urgently needed.

“Millions are affected by this typhoon, and supplies are scarce,” he added.

Rai, the 15th typhoon to hit the Philippines this year, made landfall Thursday on Siargao Island, a popular tourist and surfing destination in the Caraga region, northeast of Mindanao. Initially, the winds were blowing up to 260 kilometers (160 miles) per hour, which is equivalent to a Category 5 storm.

Numerous preventive evacuations and storm preparations began earlier in the week as the country began to receive heavy rains, but millions of people remained vulnerable.

As Rai traveled west, he destroyed houses, trees and power cables in his path, resulting in heavy rains, widespread flooding and landslides. Communities were destroyed and hundreds of thousands of people were left homeless as a result of the storm.

In the nearby town of Surigao, one of the worst affected areas, survivors were seen on the roads asking for food and water, surrounded by uprooted trees and electric poles. Police were seen removing broken branches from the roads.

Residents stand in front of homes damaged in the wake of Typhoon Rai in Talisay, Cebu province, central Philippines, December 18, 2021.

At least 4.1 million children were affected by the typhoon, according to Save the Children. It is estimated that more than 16,000 families in the hard-hit region of Caraga are sheltering in cramped evacuation centers, he added.

Jerome Balinton, the organization’s humanitarian officer, said the risk of the disease spreading at these facilities is “of great concern”.

“We are starting to see the emergence of water-borne illnesses, including diarrhea,” Balinton said. “Sanitation is a huge problem in these evacuation centers. As the Philippines continues to fight Covid-19, we are concerned for the safety of millions of people, including the most vulnerable children.”

Balinton said he was concerned about the long-term struggles that could stem from the devastation of the typhoon, including issues of food security and education.

“Although we have not yet determined the extent of the damage, there has been widespread destruction in schools,” Balinton said. “The poorest and most vulnerable communities may be exposed to exploitation after this disaster.

Scenes of destruction are reminiscent of Super Typhoon Haiyan, known locally as Yolanda, which hit the Philippines in November 2013. It was one of the most severe storms to hit the country, killing over 6,000 people. Its powerful winds and huge storm surges destroyed buildings, destroyed roads, and caused numerous power and water outages.

The man-made climate crisis makes typhoons, hurricanes and cyclones more intense and destructive, and the Philippines is one of the most climate-vulnerable countries in the world.

Source link


Comments are closed.