Typhoon Rai, one of the strongest to hit the Philippines in recent years, has claimed at least 388 lives, the government said on Monday, as the threat of a possible epidemic hangs over some of the stricken areas. The Civil Defense office said the total death toll stood at 388 and 60 people were still missing. The previous balance sheet reported 375 dead. Hundreds of people were also injured. On December 16 and 17, the typhoon, accompanied by winds that reached 195 km / h, sowed death and desolation in the center and south of the archipelago, tearing roofs, electricity poles and trees in its path. Hundreds of thousands of people were left homeless overnight.
More than four million people in 430 towns and villages where some 482,000 houses have been damaged or destroyed are receiving aid, however assured the office of Civil Defense. More than 300,000 people are still in evacuation camps. A new threat has emerged in recent days as the government delivered food, water and clothing to devastated areas: at least 140 people have fallen ill from possibly contaminated water. In the southern province of Dinagat Islands, 80 people have been diagnosed with acute gastroenteritis, while 54 people are being treated for diarrhea at the hospital on the neighboring tourist island of Siargao, said the Under Secretary of Health. Maria Rosario Vergeire.
Cebu city has reported 16 cases of diarrhea, it also told reporters. Maria Rosario Vergeire stressed that these areas had suffered an interruption in the water supply, and pipes had been damaged. « There is therefore a possibility of contamination», She indicated. According to data from his ministry, the typhoon also damaged more than 4,000 doses of coronavirus vaccines and devastated 141 hospitals and clinics, only 30 of which were resumed. The Philippines, ranked among the countries most exposed to climate change, is swept by nearly 20 tropical storms or typhoons each year which typically destroy crops, homes and infrastructure in already poor regions.