MANILA — The death toll from a powerful typhoon that struck the Philippines last week is continuing to rise as rescuers reach more devastated areas, with more than 200 people now believed to have been killed, officials said on Monday.
About half of the deaths reported so far from Super Typhoon Rai were in the island province of Bohol in the central Visayas region, a tourist destination known for its diving spots and coral reefs. Some 230 people are missing as well, the Philippine National Police said.
The central province of Cebu and Cagayan de Oro city on the island of Mindanao were also among the worst-hit areas.
The typhoon made landfall on the island on Thursday, with gusts of up to 168 miles per hour, before tearing west 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.
The typhoon, known as Odette under the Philippines’ separate naming system, was the 15th to hit the country this year. It dumped heavy rain over large areas, and large parts of the central and southern Philippines sustained damage, with many waterways overflowing their banks.
The chairman of the Philippine Red Cross, Senator Richard Gordon, said Rai was one of the strongest storms ever known to have struck the Philippines, which endures an average of 20 typhoons a year.
“Red Cross emergency teams are reporting complete carnage in the coastal areas. Homes, hospitals, schools and community buildings have been ripped to shreds,” he said in a statement. “Our volunteers are providing urgent relief for people who have lost everything, including food, drinking water, first aid, medical care, and somewhere safe to shelter.”
The most powerful storm on record in the Philippines was Super Typhoon Haiyan, which killed about 6,500 people and caused widespread destruction in 2013.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has started an emergency appeal for nearly $22 million to finance relief and recovery efforts for an estimated 400,000 people in the Philippines affected by Rai.
Source: NY Times