Manila (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Typhoon Rammasun, the first tropical storm of this year's rainy season, has left 38 people dead in its wake with millions more in the capital and surrounding areas are without electricity and water.
The authorities have begun the removal of debris and reconstruction of damaged houses; there are at least eight people are still missing and the chances of finding them alive are decreasing. After crossing the island of Luzon, the typhoon has now left the Philippine archipelago and is headed toward China.
The Director of Philippine Civil Protection, Alexander Pama, says that typhoon Rammasun has destroyed 7
thousand homes and damaged another 19 thousand; at least 530 thousand people
have found refuge in evacuation centers.
It has also caused considerable damage to crops, particularly rice and corn yields in the Bicol region, south-west of Manila, the first area to be hit by the passage. From an initial estimates damages could amount to 668 million pesos losses equal to $ 15 million dollars.
Even today many schools and government offices remained closed in Manila and other parts of southern Luzon, the most populous region of the Philippines with at least 17 million people. "Most of the victims - reports Pama - died as a result of falling trees or because hit by debris." The governor of Quezon David Suarez adds that the province is ready to declare a state of calamity.
Every year, the monsoon season brings with it a series of typhoons and tropical storms, some devastating. Last year the super-typhoon Haiyan (renamed Yolanda), which hit the central Visayas on November 8, 2013, affected at least 11 million people. At least eight billion dollars is needed for a full return to normalcy.
One year on, there are still over 1,700 missing people; the number of victims is higher than 5 thousand, although President Aquino downplayed the final toll, noting that the initial estimates [of more than 10 thousand] were the result of an overly emotional reaction to the tragedy and that the actual death toll is around 2,500.