Death toll from Philippines typhoon passes 20
At least 21 people have been killed in the strongest typhoon to hit the Philippines this year, officials said Saturday, with "alarming" reports of destruction on islands that bore the brunt of the storm, News.Az reports citing AFP.
More than 300,000 people fled their homes and beachfront resorts as Typhoon Rai ravaged the southern and central regions of the archipelago, knocking out communications and electricity in many areas, ripping off roofs and toppling concrete power poles.
Rai was a super typhoon when it smashed into the popular tourist island of Siargao on Thursday, packing maximum sustained winds of 195 kilometres per hour (120 miles per hour).
Its wind speeds eased to 150 kph as it barrelled across the country, dumping torrential rain that flooded villages, uprooting trees and shattering wooden structures.
The Philippines -- ranked as one of the world's most vulnerable countries to the impacts of climate change -- is hit by an average of 20 storms and typhoons every year, which typically wipe out harvests, homes and infrastructure in already impoverished areas.