31st December, 2021
The Philippine death toll from Typhoon Rai has crossed the 400 mark, Ricardo Jalad, chief of the national disaster agency said on Friday.
Rai was the 15th and deadliest typhoon to hit the Southeast Asian nation this year.
The Category 5 typhoon, which flooded towns and caused widespread destruction and nearly 400 deaths in the Philippines over the past week, was the deadliest tropical storm to develop near the country this year.
Reported deaths had reached 405, mostly due to drowning, fallen trees and landslides, Jalad told a news conference.
He said 82 were missing and 1,147 injured.
More than 530,000 houses were damaged, a third of which were totally wrecked, while damage to infrastructure and agriculture was estimated at 23.4 billion pesos ($459 million), Jalad said.
The typhoon affected nearly 4.5 million people, including about 500,000 sheltering in evacuation centres, government data showed.
It made landfall as a category 5 typhoon on Dec. 16, and left a trail of destruction in the provinces of Bohol, Cebu, and Surigao del Norte, including the holiday island of Siargao, and the Dinagat Islands.
“It caused massive destruction and it was like a bomb was dropped in northern Bohol,” Anthony Damalerio, chief of Bohol province’s disaster agency, told Reuters.
A popular dive spot, Bohol reported 109 deaths and is seeking shelter kits, food and water, Damalerio said.
“Our problem is shelter, those who lost roofs, especially now that this is rainy season in the province,” Surigao del Norte Governor Francisco Matugas told ANC news channel.
Rai’s swath of destruction revived memories of typhoon Haiyan, one of the most powerful tropical cyclones ever
recorded, which killed 6,300 people in the Philippines in 2013.