In the fiercest typhoon to strike the Philippines this year, authorities claimed at least 21 people were dead, with “alarming” reports of devastation on islands that took the brunt of the storm’s winds and rain.
A storm called Typhoon Rai ravaged the southern and central regions of the archipelago, forcing more than 300,000 people from their homes and beachfront resorts. The storm caused widespread communication and electricity outages as well as the tearing off roofs and toppling concrete power poles in many areas.
When Typhoon Rai made landfall on the famous tourist island of Siargao on Thursday, it was a super typhoon with maximum sustained winds of 195 kilometres per hour (120 miles per hour).
As it barreled over the nation, its wind speeds slowed to 150 kph, pouring heavy rain that swamped communities and uprooted trees, causing wooden buildings to crumble.
There are around 100,000 people on Siargao, although the population grows as a result of the influx of tourists and surfers that come to the island.
IFRC representative in the Philippines, Alberto Bocanegra, said, “This is without a doubt, one of the most intense storms to strike the Philippines in December in at least the previous decade.”