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|A resident salvages belongings among debris caused by Super Typhoon Rai after the storm crossed over Surigao City in Surigao del Norte province. (Photo: AFP/VNA)|
Manila - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has declared a state of calamity in several regions to speed up relief efforts for victims of typhoon Rai that ravaged central and southern Philippines last week.
In a taped public address aired late on December 21, Duterte placed Mimaropa, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Northern Mindanao, and Caraga regions under the state of calamity due to the impact of the typhoon. Duterte said these are areas that have suffered massive destruction and loss of life.
Troops are racing to deliver food and water to typhoon-ravaged islands of the Philippines as charities appealed for aid to help hundreds of thousands left homeless by the deadly storm. However, the rescue work is facing many difficulties because floodwater cuts off traffic, while relief supplies are gradually running out.
According to statistics from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), super typhoon Rai – the deadliest tropical cyclone in 2021 to make landfall in the Philippines - has killed at least 375 people, left 56 missing and injured more than 500 people. As many as 1.8 million people were affected, of which 630,000 are displaced.
Typhoon Rai pummeled the southern and central regions of the Philippines on December 16 with winds of up to 195 km per hour, becoming one of the strongest storms to affect the Southeast Asian country in recent years. It lashes the country for three days, causing flooding and landslides before exiting on December 19. The typhoon has left heavy damage in the southern and central areas of the Philippines, including Luzon island - the largest and most populous island in the country.