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

An Egyptian archeologist speaks at a recently discovered tomb dated to the Old Kingdom, 2700–2200...
MOHAMED WAGDY

Egypt unveils tombs and sarcophagus in new excavation

Egypt on Thursday unveiled dozens of new archaeological discoveries, including two ancient tombs, at a Pharaonic necropolis just outside of the capital Cairo.
8 days ago
A Yanomami youth carries a toddler on his shoulders at the Saude Indigenous House, a center respons...
Eleoneore Hughes and Edmar Barros, Associated Press

Why Brazil’s Yanomami are being decimated by disease, mining

Severe malnutrition and disease, particularly malaria, are decimating the Yanomami population in Brazil's Amazon rainforest, and on Jan. 20 the federal government declared a public health emergency.
8 days ago
Filippo Grandi, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, tours a neighborhood in Kharkiv ...
Hanna Arhirova, Associated Press

Russian attacks on Ukraine reported; tank training to start

Ukrainian officials say Russia has launched a new wave of missile and self-exploding drone attacks on the country.
9 days ago
woman leans off skyscraper for video content...
Larry D. Curtis

Sundance: ‘Fantastic Machine’ entertains while examining relationship between humans and camera

While the Utah's political leaders grapple with laws to combat the dangers of social media, Utah's Sundance Film Festival premiered "Fantastic Machine," turning the camera lens not only the camera but what it has meant to humans — spoiler: it has drastically changed us.
10 days ago
U.S. M1/A1 Abrams tanks...
TARA COPP and LOLITA BALDOR Associated Press

Why the US flipped on sending tanks to Ukraine

For months, U.S. officials balked at sending M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, insisting they were too complicated and too hard to maintain and repair.
10 days ago
This diagram made available by NASA shows the estimated trajectory of asteroid 2023 BU, in red, aff...
Marcia Dunn, AP Aerospace Writer

Asteroid coming exceedingly close to Earth, but will miss

An asteroid the size of a delivery truck will whip past Earth on Thursday night, one of the closest encounters ever recorded.
10 days ago

Sponsored Articles

vintage photo of lighting showroom featuring chandeliers, lamps, wall lights and mirrors...
Lighting Design

History of Lighting Design | Over 25 Years of Providing Utah With the Latest Trends and Styles

Read about the history of Lighting Design, a family-owned and operated business that paved the way for the lighting industry in Utah.
Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Super Typhoon Rai slams into the Philippines as rescue operations get underway