NewsNow Desk: At least 75 people have been reported killed in the strongest typhoon to hit the Philippines this year, official tallies showed Sunday, as efforts to deliver water and food to devastated islands ramped up.
More than 300,000 people fled their homes and beachfront resorts as Typhoon Rai ravaged the southern and central regions of the archipelago.
The storm knocked out communications and electricity in many areas, ripping off roofs, toppling concrete power poles and flooding villages.
Arthur Yap, governor of the popular tourist destination Bohol, said on his official Facebook page that mayors on the devastated island had reported 49 deaths in their towns.
That took the overall number of reported deaths to 75, according to the latest official figures.
Yap said 10 people were still missing on the island and 13 were injured after the storm smashed into the country Thursday as a super typhoon packing wind speeds of 195 kilometres (120 miles) per hour.
“Communications are still down. Only 21 mayors out of 48 have reached out to us,” Yap said, raising fears the death toll could rise in the flood-hit province where some residents were rescued from their rooftops.
Thousands of military, police, coast guard and fire personnel are being deployed to assist in search and rescue efforts in the worst-affected areas of the vast archipelago.
Heavy machinery — like backhoes and front-end loaders — are also being sent to help clear roads blocked by fallen power poles and trees. Charities and emergency services have appealed for donations.
A Philippine Navy ship carrying goods and other relief would depart for Bohol on Monday, Yap said, after he earlier declared a state of calamity on the island.
An aerial survey of damage to the island’s north made it “very clear that our people have suffered greatly in terms of destroyed homes and agricultural losses,” he said.
Thousands of boxes of water had been delivered after power cuts across the island disrupted water refilling stations, Yap added.