WORLD NEWS

Super Typhoon Rai slams into the Philippines as rescue operations get underway

Dec 17, 2021, 9:54 AM
Evacuees arrive at the Siargao Sports Complex in Dapa town, Siargao island, Surigao del Norte provi...
Evacuees arrive at the Siargao Sports Complex in Dapa town, Siargao island, Surigao del Norte province, southern Philippines on Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021. Tens of thousands of people were being evacuated to safety in the southern and central Philippines as Typhoon Rai approached Thursday at a time when authorities were warning the public to avoid crowds after the first infections caused by the omicron strain of the coronavirus were reported in the country, officials said. (AP Photo)
(AP Photo)

Rai, the 15th typhoon to hit the Philippines this year, weakened slightly from a Category 5 to a Category 3 storm after making landfall Thursday on Siargao Island, a popular tourist and surfing destination on the central east coast.

The storm, which had initially packed winds of up to 260 kilometers per hour (160 miles per hour) with gusts over 300 kilometers per hour (185 miles per hour), later moved west bringing with it heavy rain and widespread flooding. It is expected to pull away from the country late Friday.

Communication and power was out in several parts of the Philippines Friday, making rescue efforts difficult — with officials unable to determine the extent of damage due to the outages.

The storm hit several heavily populated areas, including Cebu late Thursday, a city of nearly 1 million people.

More than 30 transmission lines were down in the Visayas and Mindanao region, a major group of islands, the NGCP said Friday. More than 20 million people live in the Visayas, according to 2020 official figures.

Two people have died, Philippine Senator and Red Cross Chairman Richard Gordon told CNN Friday.

“Homes are destroyed or partially damaged,” Gordon said. “There’s an explosion of debris from falling trees and falling buildings. There were two casualties in the area, two dead from fallen trees and a fallen wall.”

Villagers were seen scrambling to salvage whatever they could from their damaged homes.

Around 332,000 people have been evacuated from their homes, a spokesperson from country’s National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said on Friday.

Rai is expected to remain strong for another 24 hours before gradually weakening. It will spread some rainfall to Vietnam and China’s Hainan province, but the impact is not expected to be too significant.

Many preemptive evacuations and storm preparations began earlier in the week as the country began seeing heavy rain. In central Misamis Oriental province, the Agay-ayan River overflowed on Tuesday, flooding streets and homes with muddy brown water.

The human-induced climate crisis is making typhoons, hurricanes and cyclones more intense and destructive, and the Philippines is one of the world’s most climate-vulnerable nations.

In Surigao Province, more than 2,600 people have been evacuated as of Wednesday evening, according to the state-owned Philippine News Agency.

Photos from Surigao show one sports complex turned into an evacuation center, with plastic tents set up in a large hall and families asleep on rugs and tarps on the floor.

Meanwhile in Eastern Visayas, more than 45,000 people have evacuated to government shelters in the Eastern Visayas region, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council on Thursday.

“We are getting pounded already by strong wind and rain,” said Governor Ben Evardone of Samar Province, located in Eastern Visayas.

 

Risks of floods and landslides

 

In Tacloban City, just outside Samar, hundreds of residents have also taken shelter in evacuation sites. Many lived through Super Typhoon Yolanda, which killed more than 6,000 Filipinos in 2013 — and they’re not taking any chances now.

“We are concerned that this storm is taking the same path as the typhoon in 2011, and the other in 2013,” said Karen Janes Ungar, the country representative for the humanitarian organization Catholic Relief Services Philippines.

“However, we have learned a lot from both of those previous disasters, and in a lot of disaster preparedness … for this emergency.”

The biggest concern, she added, are smaller towns on the coast, home to fishermen and poorer populations that might not have access to government announcements or are unable to evacuate.

Thousands of villages in the storm’s projected path are at high risk of flooding and landslide, with the region’s soil already saturated and unsteady from the week’s heavy rain, according to the country’s Mines and Geosciences Bureau, which urged local authorities to prepare evacuation plans.

Airlines have canceled dozens of flights, while transport authorities banned sea and land travel in the central and southern Philippines, leaving thousands stranded at ports.

Humanitarian organizations and aid agencies are also on the ground, working with local authorities to prepare for the storm and assist in evacuations. Teams from the Philippine Red Cross are spread out across the east coast, helping organize first aid teams, food and water, and supplies such as blankets and safety equipment.

“Filipinos are tough but this Super Typhoon is a bitter blow for millions of people who are still recovering from devastating storms, floods and Covid-19 in the past year,” said Philippine Red Cross Chairman Richard Gordon in a news release on Thursday.

Super Typhoon Rai is the 15th storm to hit the country this year — compounding the struggles of people still recovering. Millions are still rebuilding their homes and livelihoods, especially after several devastating storms late last year, according to the Red Cross.

Typhoons, hurricanes and cyclones — which are essentially the same weather event but in different parts of the world — are producing more rainfall, moving more slowly once they make landfall and generating larger storm surges because of climate change.

A recent study by researchers at the Shenzhen Institute of Meteorological Innovation and the Chinese University of Hong Kong said that typhoons in Asia could have double their destructive power by the end of the century. They already last between two and nine hours longer and travel an average of 100 km (62 miles) further inland than they did four decades ago.

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

World News

Soldiers survey damage and salvage items after a projectile and subsequent fire destroyed a warehou...
FRANCESCA EBEL, Associated Press

Russian forces leave Snake Island, keep up eastern assault

Russia has pulled back its forces from a Black Sea island where they have faced relentless Ukrainian attacks, but is keeping up its push to encircle the last bulwark of Ukraine’s resistance in the eastern province of Luhansk.
9 hours ago
This court-sketch made on Monday shows defendant Salah Abdeslam (right) standing next to the 13 oth...
Xiaofei Xu, CNN and Reuters

Paris attacker Salah Abdeslam sentenced to life in prison without parole

Salah Abdeslam, who is believed to be only surviving member of the group that carried out a series of deadly gun-and-bomb attacks across Paris in November 2015, was found guilty on Wednesday and handed France's harshest sentence — life without the possibility of parole.
1 day ago
For the first time ever, economy class passengers are going to have the option of stretching out fo...
Karla Cripps, CNN

Airline reveals ‘Skynest’ bunk beds for economy class passengers

For the first time ever, economy class passengers are going to have the option of stretching out for some sleep on actual beds during their flights.
1 day ago
US President Joe Biden, speaks with Jens Stoltenberg (unseen) NATO Secretaty General at the NATO le...
DARLENE SUPERVILLE and ZEKE MILLER, Associated Press

US to boost military presence in Europe for Russia threat

President Joe Biden says the U.S. is enhancing its military presence in Europe for the long haul to bolster regional security after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
1 day ago
(Ukraine State Services/Twitter)...
YURAS KARMANAU and FRANCESCA EBEL, Associated Press

Ukrainian officials say at least 2 dead as missile hits mall

Ukrainian officials say scores of civilians are feared killed or injured after a Russian rocket strike hit a crowded shopping mall in the central city of Kremenchuk.
3 days ago
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg holds the closing press conference at NATO headquarters dur...
SAMUEL PETREQUIN, Associated Press

NATO to boost rapid reaction force, Ukraine military support

NATO chief says alliance aims to boost rapid reaction force numbers from the current 40,000 to over 300,000.
3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

hand holding 3d rendering mobile connect with security camera for security solutions...
Les Olson

Wondering what security solutions are right for you? Find out more about how to protect your surroundings

Physical security helps everyone. Keep your employees, clients, and customers safe with security solutions that protect your workplace.
Many rattan pendant lights, hay hang from the ceiling.Traditional and simple lighting....
Lighting Design

The Best Ways to Style Rattan Pendant Lighting in Your Home

Rattan pendant lights create a rustic and breezy feel, and are an easy way to incorporate this hot trend into your home decor.
Earth day 2022...
1-800-GOT-JUNK?

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
Super Typhoon Rai slams into the Philippines as rescue operations get underway