Death toll in Philippines typhoon hits 208

Death toll in Philippines typhoon hits 208

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Manila: The death toll from the strongest typhoon to hit the Philippines this year has surged to 208, the national police said Monday, making it one of the deadliest storms to hit the country in recent years.

At least 239 people were injured and 52 were missing after Typhoon Rai ravaged the southern and central regions of the archipelago, the police tally showed.

More than 300,000 people fled their homes and beachfront resorts as Rai slammed into the country on Thursday as a super typhoon.

The Philippine Red Cross has reported “complete carnage” in coastal areas.

“Homes, hospitals, school and community buildings have been ripped to shreds,” Red Cross Chairman Richard Gordon said earlier.

The storm tore off roofs, uprooted trees, toppled concrete power poles, smashed wooden houses to pieces and flooded villages — sparking comparisons with Super Typhoon Haiyan in 2013.

Haiyan, called Yolanda in the Philippines, was the deadliest cyclone on record in the country, leaving more than 7,300 people dead or missing.

One of the worst-hit islands this time is Bohol Island-famous for its beaches, rolling “chocolate hills” and small tarsier primates-where at least 74 people have died. The governor Arthur Ye is Said on his official Facebook page.

Siargao, Dinagat, and Mindanao also suffered extensive damage, and these islands were the first to bear the brunt when the storm hit the country with winds of 195 kilometers (120 miles) per hour.

On Sunday, Provincial Information Officer Jeffrey Crisostomo told AFP that at least 10 people had died in the Dinagat Islands.

S.O.S is painted on a road in General Luna, a popular tourist town on Siargao Island. Surfers and vacationers flock to it before Christmas because it is difficult to find water and food.

There is no communication in large areas of the disaster-affected area, which hinders the work of disaster agencies to assess the extent of storm damage.

Electricity was also cut off, affecting water filling stations and ATMs.

Thousands of military, police, coast guard and fire personnel have been deployed to assist in search and rescue efforts.

Coast guard and naval vessels carrying food, water and medical supplies have been dispatched, while heavy machinery — like backhoes and front-end loaders — have been sent to help clear roads blocked by fallen power poles and trees.

Rai hit the Philippines late in the typhoon season — most cyclones typically develop between July and October.

Scientists have long warned that typhoons are becoming more powerful and strengthening more rapidly as the world becomes warmer because of human-driven climate change.

The Philippines — one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to climate change — is hit by an average of 20 storms and typhoons each year, which usually destroy crops, houses and infrastructure in already impoverished areas.

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