The death toll in the Philippines caused by Typhoon Rai has risen to 208 after the storm carved a trail of destruction in central and southern provinces late last week.
At least 52 people were still missing, according to police data on Monday, as relief efforts continued following one of the deadliest typhoons to have struck the Southeast Asian country.
Many of those who died were hit by falling trees or walls, drowned in floods or were buried in 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.
At least 14 villagers died and more than 100 others were injured by flying tin roofs, debris and glass shards and were treated in makeshift surgery rooms in damaged hospitals in Dinagat, Bag-ao said. Many more would have died if thousands of residents had not been evacuated from high-risk villages as the typhoon approached.
More than 700,000 people were lashed by the typhoon in central island provinces, including more than 400,000 who had to be moved to emergency shelters. Thousands of residents were rescued from flooded villages, including in Loboc town in hard-hit Bohol province, where residents were trapped on roofs and trees to escape from rising floodwaters.
Coastguard ships ferried 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.
Emergency crews were scrambling to restore electricity supply and mobile phone services in at least 227 cities and towns, officials said, adding that three regional airports were also damaged.
About 20 storms and typhoons annually batter the Philippines, which lies between the Pacific Ocean and the South China Sea. The Southeast Asian archipelago also lies along the seismically active Pacific “Ring of Fire” region, making it one of the world’s most disaster-prone countries.