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The Philippines- Typhoon Rai takes lives of 208, injures 239

The 15th typhoon to hit the Philippines this year, Rai, locally known as Odette has caused the death of 208, injuring 239 whereas 52 remain missing, as reported by local police. 

The central province of Cebu and Cagayan de Oro city on the island of Mindanao and Dinagat are among the worst-hit areas. 

With winds of about 195 km/h (120 mph) – sent estimated 300,000 people running for safety when Rai hit the south-eastern part of the country on Thursday, November 16th. It was classified as Super Typhoon after being compared with the Category 5 hurricane in the United States. It has now been categorized as Category 3 storm after causing landfall in Siargao Island, a popular tourist attraction on the central east coast on 17th December, which in retrospect has weakened the intensity of the typhoon. 

The typhoon has caused heavy rains, mainly in central and southern parts of the Philippines, causing damage such as overflowing of banks, no power, no communications, and very little water supply. These issues have made it difficult to estimate the total number of losses. It has also made rescue efforts difficult. According to Richard Gordon, chairperson of the Philippines Red cross, the havoc caused by Rai in a few areas is such that it looks worse than when bombed in WW2.

A spokesperson of National Disaster Risk Reduction Management and Control (NDRRMC) stated that around 332,000 people have been evacuated from their homes. The country started experiencing heavy rainfall earlier this week and therefore evacuations and storm preparations were started in advance. 

The Philippines experiences an average of 20 typhoons each year and the dynamically changing climate has made the country vulnerable to such intensive and destructive typhoons, hurricanes, and cyclones. Amid the ongoing typhoon, dozens of flights have been canceled while sea and land travel have also been banned, leaving thousands stranded at ports. 

Humanitarian organizations, NGO's along with local government are working hand-in-hand to help the affected population. First aid teams are being organized. Food, water, blankets and other necessary supplies such as safety equipment are being held out to people. 

The intensity of this typhoon is being compared with the 2013 Super Typhoon Haiyan which left with uprooted trees, flooded villages smashed roofs, and collapsed concrete polls and houses. 

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