Military airplanes and naval vessels were dispatched on Monday to carry aid to areas devastated by Typhoon Rai, as the country grappled withthe strongest of 15 such storms to hit the archipelago this year.
According to Reuters, as of 1000 GMT, the death toll from Rai has risen to 375, the police said in a report, making it one of the deadliest typhoons to have struck the Southeast Asian nation. The number of injured has climbed to 500, while 56 people were missing.
“We are still assessing the damage, but it is huge,” Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana told reporters on Monday. “The first thing we are doing is address the food and water (supplies) and medical care of the injured.”
Rai, which made landfall as a category 5 typhoon on Thursday, revived memories of the devastation brought in 2013 by Typhoon Haiyan, one of the most powerful tropical cyclones ever recorded, which killed 6,300 people in the Philippines.
Rai displaced nearly 490,000 people in the Philippines before moving toward the South China Sea over the weekend.
It left a trail of destruction in the provinces of Cebu, Leyte, and Surigao del Norte, including Siargao, which is popular with surfers, and the Dinagat Islands.
President Rodrigo Duterte, who visited typhoon-stricken areas over the weekend, promised funds of about 2 billion pesos ($40 million) to help in recovery efforts.