- Typhoon Rai killed more than 200 people.
- The Philippines has faltered and is struggling to cope with it.
- Local residents are urgently asking for help.
The death toll from Typhoon Rai has exceeded 200 in the Philippines and humanitarian workers have reported “full slaughter” in coastal areas where the storm “torn” homes, hospitals and schools.
A police spokesman told reporters Monday that at least 208 people were killed and 52 are still missing after the storm left traces of destruction across the central and southern provinces late last week.
Roderick Alba said the police had been mobilized to provide relief and to maintain order in the disaster-hit areas.
More than half of the deaths reported by police were deaths in the central Visayas region, which also includes Bohol Province, which is home to some of the country’s most popular tourist destinations, including dive sites.
Relief efforts have accelerated but are still hampered by damage to communications and power lines, which have yet to be restored in many devastated areas.
This leaflet photo shows damage caused by super typhoon Rai after the storm crossed the city of Surigao in Surigao del Norte Province.
AFP Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), AFP
Motorists pass signs asking for help painted on a street in the town of General Luna on Siargao Island in Surigao del Norte Province.
AFP Roel Catoto, AFP
Local residents wait in line for water in Cebu City.
AFP Cheryl Baldicantos, AFP
Rai had displaced nearly 490,000 people in the Philippines before heading for the South China Sea over the weekend.
It has also left widespread devastation in the provinces of Cebu, Leyte, and Surigao del Norte, including the popular surfing destination Siargao and the Dinagat Islands.
At least 10 people died on Dinagat while SOS was being painted on a street in General Luna town on Siargao Island. In some places, people struggled to find water and food.
“Our situation is so desperate,” said Ferry Asuncion, a street vendor in the hard-hit coastal town of Surigao.
The people of the city desperately needed “drinking water and food,” he said.
Others expressed frustration with the government’s response to the disaster.
“Nobody showed up – I don’t know where the politicians and [election] Candidates are, ”said a visibly angry Levi Lisondra, an elderly resident of the town of Surigao on the northern tip of Mindanao.
We paid high taxes when we were working and now they can no longer help us.
President Rodrigo Duterte has pledged to raise approximately 2 billion Philippine pesos (40 million pesos).
Thousands of soldiers, police officers, coast guards and firefighters have also been dispatched to hard-hit areas.
Coast guards and naval vessels, as well as airplanes with food, water and medical supplies, were dispatched, while heavy machinery – such as excavators and front loaders – were dispatched to clear roads blocked by fallen power poles and trees.
A resident walks past a damaged power pole in the town of Del Carmen, Surigao del Norte province, days after super typhoon Rai devastated the province.
AFP Handout, Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), AFP
A resident dries her clothes on the ruins of a house in the town of Del Carmen, Surigao del Norte province, days after super typhoon Rai devastated the province.
AFP Handout, Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), AFP
A local resident retrieves belongings among the rubble caused by super typhoon Rai after the storm crossed the city of Surigao in Surigao del Norte Province.
AFP Erwin Mascarinas, AFP
The Philippine Red Cross launched an emergency call for CHF 20 million ($ 21.7 million), saying international action is vital for the hundreds of thousands of Rai.
“Filipinos are bravely banding together, but after losing everything in this violent storm, international support will enable hundreds of thousands of people to rebuild their homes and decimate their livelihoods,” said Richard Gordon, chairman of the Philippine Red Cross.
“Emergency teams are reporting a complete bloodbath in the coastal areas. Homes, hospitals, schools and community buildings were torn to shreds, ”he said.
It will be a long, hard road for people to rebuild and get their lives back on track.
Rai hit the Philippines late in the typhoon season; Most cyclones typically develop between July and October.
Scientists have long warned that typhoons will get stronger, and intensify faster, as the world warms up due to man-made climate change.
The Philippines – one of the countries hardest hit by the effects of climate change – is hit by an average of 20 storms and typhoons each year, which typically destroy crops, homes and infrastructure in already impoverished areas.
In November 2013, Typhoon Haiyan, called Yolanda in the Philippines, was the deadliest storm to ever hit land at the time, with more than 7,300 people dead or missing.
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