The death toll from the strongest typhoon to hit the Philippines this year has risen to 99, as emergency teams reached devastated areas, bringing food, water and other supplies.
More than 480,000 people were displaced by Typhoon Rai, which flattened houses, damaged buildings and knocked out power and communication lines in the country’s central and southern provinces, the national disaster agency said on Sunday.
Relief goods were flown in to the affected areas, according to local airlines.
Volunteer doctors, rescue workers and other emergency teams were also flown in.
At least 63 people died in the central province of Bohol, with 10 missing, based on reports of 33 out of 48 towns, provincial Governor Arthur Yap said.
“It is very clear that our people have suffered greatly in terms of destroyed homes and agricultural losses,” he noted in a Facebook post.
Yap called for donations of portable generators to distribute among the towns to power water-refilling stations, noting, “We cannot survive the next two to three weeks by just waiting for transmission lines to be repaired”.
“Supplying the people drinking water is critical and relying on water bottles distribution is merely a stop-gap measure which we will not be able to sustain for long,” he added.
The island province of Dinagat has recorded 10 fatalities, with five missing, according to Jeffrey Crisostomo, provincial chief information officer.
“Our province survived, but the destruction is everywhere,” he told DZBB radio station.
“Around 90 per cent to 95 per cent of the province is damaged to totally wrecked.”
Crisostomo said even the provincial capital building was damaged by Rai’s fierce winds.
“I saw how Rai tore apart our provincial capital, piece by piece,” he said.
“The building used to have a second floor, that is now gone. Tables heavier than people were flying at the height of the typhoon.
“It was like a washing machine that was spinning and you don’t know where you will run.”
The national disaster agency also received reports of 16 deaths in the central province of Cebu, and 10 from the nearby provinces of Iloilo, Guimaras, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental and Bukidnon.
Rai moved out of the Philippines on Saturday, but rains were still being monitored in the country’s western areas, including metro Manila.
On Sunday, the typhoon was packing maximum sustained winds of 195 kilometres per hour and gusts of up to 240 km/h as it barrelled towards central Vietnam and Hainan Island in China, the weather bureau said.
The Philippine archipelago is hit by an average of 20 tropical cyclones every year.