The death toll in the wake of the strongest typhoon to hit the Philippines this year has risen to more than 200, with 52 people still missing, and many central towns and provinces suffering from communications, power outages and demands for food and water, officials said Monday.
At its strongest, Typhoon Ray packed sustained winds of 121 miles per hour and gusts of up to 168 miles per hour before exploding Friday in the South China Sea.
At least 208 people were killed, 52 remained missing, and 239 were injured, according to the national police.
The number of casualties was expected to rise as many towns and villages remained out of reach due to communications and power outages although extensive clean-up and repair efforts were underway.
Many died due to falling trees, collapsing walls, floods and landslides. A 57-year-old man was found dead hanging from a tree branch, and a woman was blown away by the wind and died in Negros Occidental province, police said.
More than 200 people were killed after winds of 168 mph hit the Philippines. Pictured: A man stands in the ruins of his home in San Jose, Dynagat Island
Philippine Vice President Lenny Robredo, right front, rests a woman after examining damage from Typhoon Ray in the Dinagat Islands, southern Philippines
A man looks at trees and structures that have fallen due to Typhoon Ray on Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte, southern Philippines, yesterday.
Arleen Page, or governor of the Dinagate Islands, among the southeastern counties first hit by the typhoon, said the ferocity of Ray in her territory on the island of more than 130,000 was worse than that hit by Typhoon Haiyan, one of the most powerful and deadly on record. . It devastated the central Philippines in November 2013 but did not cause any dynamite casualties.
“If it was as though I had been in the washing machine before,” said Bag-ao, “this time there was like a gigantic beast that smashed itself all over the place, snatched away anything like trees and tin roofs and threw it all over.”
The winds swirled from north to south to east and west repeatedly for six hours. Some of the tin roof panels flew away and then they threw them away.
Baj Ao said at least 14 villagers were killed and more than 100 injured from flying tin roofs, debris and glass shards and were treated in makeshift operating rooms at the affected hospitals in Dinagat.
Many more would have died if the thousands of residents had not been evacuated from the highly dangerous villages.
Like many counties hit by the cyclone, Dynagat remained without electricity, communications and many residents in the county, with most homes and buildings destroyed, and they needed building materials, food and water.
Bag-ao and other provincial officials traveled to nearby areas that had cell phone signals to seek help and coordinate recovery efforts with the national government.
Aerial shot of the devastation in the devastating typhoon island of Bohol in the Philippines, where the roof of the church was completely torn off
More than 700,000 people were affected by the cyclone in the provinces of the central islands, of whom more than 400,000 had to be transferred to emergency shelters.
Thousands of residents were rescued from flooded villages, including the hard-hit town of Lubbock in Bohol province, where residents were trapped on roofs and trees to escape rising flood waters.
Coast Guard ships have transported 29 American, British, Canadian, Swiss, Russian, Chinese and other tourists who were stranded on Siargao Island, a popular surfing destination devastated by the typhoon, officials said.
Officials said emergency crews were working hard to restore electricity in 227 cities and towns.
More than 300,000 people were evacuated from their seaside homes and resorts after Hurricane Ray swept the country
Philippine Vice President Lenny Robredo (center, in blue) inspects a government building destroyed by Super Typhoon Ray, in San Jose, Dynagat Island
Power has been restored in only 21 regions so far. Officials said mobile phone connections in more than 130 cities and towns had been cut off by the typhoon, but at least 106 had been restored by Monday.
The Civil Aviation Agency said two domestic airports remained closed except for emergency flights, but most other airports had reopened.
Bag-ao and other officials have expressed concern that their counties may run out of fuel, which has been in high demand due to the use of temporary power generators, including those used in refrigerated warehouses that hold large amounts of coronavirus vaccine stocks.
Officials have delivered vaccine shipments to several counties for a massive immunization drive, which was postponed last week due to the typhoon.
In the Vatican, Pope Francis, on Sunday, expressed his closeness to the people of the Philippines, referring to the typhoon “which destroyed many homes.”
Each year, about 20 storms and tropical cyclones strike the Philippines, which is one of the world’s most disaster-prone countries.
A villager stands next to a destroyed house on typhoon-ravaged Dnagat Island, Philippines, yesterday.
President Rodrigo Duterte (right) and Senator Bong Goo (left) inside a helicopter during an aerial inspection of the devastating typhoon island Bohol yesterday
Drone images from the Philippine Navy show destroyed homes in the town of San Jose, Dinagat Island, a day after super typhoon Ray devastated the island.
Typhoon Ray killed at least 112 people after wreaking havoc in the Paradise Island province of the Philippines, killing 63 people. Pictured: An aerial view of destroyed houses in the city of Surigao, in the province of Surigao del Norte.
A woman sits next to houses damaged by Typhoon Ray in Talisay, Cebu Province, central Philippines, on Saturday
Residents stand amid damaged homes in the aftermath of Typhoon Ray in Talisay, Cebu Province, central Philippines, on Saturday
In this photo provided by the Philippine Coast Guard, trees are torn down along an empty road in Surigao del Norte province, southern Philippines, on Saturday.