Typhoon Rai Ravages the Philippines, Claiming Nearly 400 Lives

Feature Image courtesy of Al Jazeera
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Typhoon Rai, the deadliest of the 15 such storms that have battered the archipelago this year alone, displaced nearly half a million people.

While the Klang Valley grapples with the aftermath of the “downpour of the century,” Southeast Asian neighbours, the Philippines, faced complete devastation brought on by Typhoon Rai. Destroying homes, flooding towns, and severing power and communication lines in the country’s central and southern regions, the typhoon has also displaced hundreds of thousands in its wake.

Worst of all is the death toll having already reached 375, with 56 people still missing as efforts to locate them continues.

Image Credit: Al Jazeera

As heavily affected communities process the shock of the obliteration of their surroundings, military airplanes and naval vessels were dispatched yesterday carrying aid to the necessary areas.

“We are still assessing the damage, but it is huge,” Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana told reporters yesterday. “The first thing we are doing is address the food and water (supplies) and medical care of the injured.”

The Philippines armed forces have been mobilised to deliver relief goods by all means necessary, while backup troops are on standby to assist if needed. Typhoon Rai is the deadliest of the 15 such storms that have battered the archipelago this year alone.

Image Credit: Al Jazeera

Local police have reported that the number of fatally injured individuals has climbed to 500, exceeding the toll as recorded by the national disaster agency. The majority of deaths were reported to have happened in the central region of Visayas — home to diving spots in the Bohol province which contains some of the region’s most popular tourist destinations. The Caraga region in northeastern Mindanao also recorded a tragically high death toll.

With Rai displacing nearly 490,000 people in the country, Provincial governor Arthur Yap told broadcaster CNN Philippines he feared the death toll could rise further as a lack of mobile telephone links made it hard to gather information.

Other areas destroyed by Rai include the provinces of Cebu, Leyte, Surigao del Norte, and the Dinagat Islands. President Rodrigo Duterte, who visited typhoon-stricken areas over the weekend, promised funds of about 2 billion pesos (US$40 million) to help in recovery efforts.

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