Typhoon Rai kills more than 200
The islands of Siargao, Dinagat and Mindanao are the most affected. Urged by the local Caritas, the Catholic Church declared 25 and 26 December national days of prayer. “[N]o one escaped Odette (Rai),” said Fra Marcelino Arcilla Rapayla of the Order of Discalced Augustinians.
Manila (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The death toll from Typhoon Rai, known as Odette in the Philippines, has risen to more than 200 people in the Philippines.
The cyclone hit the country last Thursday and brought to their knees nine regions and 33 provinces that were already hard pressed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The islands of Siargao, Dinagat and Mindanao are the most affected.
With winds reaching 270 km/h, numerous buildings and infrastructures were destroyed, submerging entire neighbourhoods.
The power lines and communication links were cut, leaving many areas without water. According to police, at least 239 people were injured and more than fifty are missing.
The death toll now stands at 208 while about 300,000 people have been displaced. The fishing industry and agriculture have lost up to US$ 6.7million.
According to Caritas Philippines, at least 10 dioceses in the Visayas and Mindanao regions have been heavily affected.
At the request of the local Caritas, the Catholic Church declared 25 and 26 December national days of prayer for the families affected by Odette.
The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) is encouraging dioceses to raise funds for the victims on Christmas and Boxing Day.
CBCP President Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of Kalookan said that the Alay Kapwa solidarity fund will be used in response to the emergency.
“We encourage everyone to remit all collections to Caritas Philippines that will then plan and implement our overall response,” Bishop David explained.
“I cannot deny the feeling that I worry about my family", said Fra Marcelino Arcilla Rapayla, a priest of the Order of Barefoot Augustinians in Cebu, on TikTok.
“After two days without communications, [. . .] my siblings reached out to communicate since yesterday evening”. Sadly, “no one escaped Odette,” he added.
Some of his relatives left home to “look for a signal and share with me some pictures of how Odette devastated the island of Mactan. No water, no signal, no electricity, no work; panic buying. [. . .] Falling in line for kerosene and gasoline.”
An average of 20 typhoons hit the Philippines each year. Rai is the 15th and so far, the most intense this year. Due to climate change, it came later than usual, i.e., the monsoon season (July to October).