Philippines typhoon death toll reaches 375, as many as 56 missing
Manila, December 21, 2021
The death toll from the powerful typhoon Rai that lashed the Philippines last week has spiked to 375, a police report said, adding that 56 people were still unaccounted for.
"The increase of casualties is subject to validation from the affected regions," Xinhua news agency quoted the Philippine National Police's (PNP) latest report as saying.
The report said deaths caused by the 15th and the most destructive typhoon to hit the Southeast Asian country this year occurred in Central Visayas and the Caraga region in the north-eastern Mindanao island.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported 58 deaths on Monday while only four of the victims have been confirmed. The agency also reported that 18 people were still missing.
Bohol, one of the hardest-hit areas in the central Philippines by typhoon Rai, has confirmed 94 deaths on Monday, according to Bohol Governor Arthur Yap, and at least 18 more were missing.
The country's disaster-response agency said the typhoon has affected close to 1 million people and displaced 442,424 residents.
It said the initial estimate of damage to agriculture is 118.28 million pesos ($2 million) and 225.17 million pesos ($4 million) to infrastructure.
On December 16, the typhoon first slammed into Siargao Island off the eastern coast on Mindanao island in the southern Philippines.
Rai lashed the Philippines for three days, causing flooding and landslides and leaving a trail of destruction in the central and southern Philippines region, including some areas in the main Luzon island.
"We are still assessing the damage, but it is huge. The typhoon levelled the entire community to the ground, no electricity, water, and food," said Defense Secretary and NDRRMC Chairman Delfin Lorenzana.
He said the government is now addressing food and water shortage, as well as providing medical care for those injured.
"I have directed the armed forces to deploy all available assets such as ships, boats, aircraft, and trucks to bring relief goods to the stricken areas and the deployment of troops if necessary," Lorenzana said.
Meanwhile, NDRRMC spokesperson Mark Timbal said 29 foreign nationals have been evacuated from Siargao Island that is famous for surfing.
"The tourists have been identified, and they are in good condition," he added.