Philippines – Thousands Evacuate Wrath of Typhoon Rai

Almost half a million people evacuated their homes as Typhoon Rai swept over central areas of the Philippines from 16 December 2021.

Typhoon Rai caused damage in Surigao del Norte in the Philippines, December 2021. Photo: Philippines Coast Guard

Strong winds of of 195 km/h, with gusts of up to 270 km/h, caused catastrophic damage. According to a report of 19 December 2021 from the country’s National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), 3,783 houses have suffered damaged and 171 have been completely destroyed, mostly in Western Visayas (Region 6). Hundreds of cities or municipalities experienced power and communication outages.

A total of 706,634 people have been affected across the regions of MIMAROPA, Region 5, Region 6, Region 8, Region 10, Region 11, Region 12, Caraga and Bangsamoro. As many as 416,988 were affected in Western Visayas (Region 6) and 198,175 in Caraga.

As of 19 December, 488,463 had evacuated their homes, with many staying in 2,861 evacuation centres.

NDRRMC reported 31 fatalities, with 1 person still missing and 3 injured. However the official death toll is expected to rise as local governments provide further updates on damages once communication lines are restored. Late on 19 December Governor Arthur Yap of Bohol province said 74 people had died in the province as a result of Typhoon Rai (known locally as Odette).

Arlene Bag-ao, Governor of the Dinagat Islands reported widespread damage and 10 fatalities. In a statement the governor said, “Dinagat Islands has been levelled to the ground by Typhoon Odette… We have yet to establish communication and access among the seven municipalities to know the extent of the damage.”

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte conducted an aerial inspection of some of the areas hit by Typhoon Odette covering Siargao, Surigao City, Dinagat Islands, and Maasin City in Southern Leyte. He later visited areas of Bohol province to see the catastrophic damage for himself.

Storm surge flooded some coastal areas, while heavy rain triggered flooding and landslides inland. Four people were reported dead while seven others were missing after a landslide in Sibagat, Agusan del Sur Province. Other landslides were reported in Southern Leyte and Davao City. NDRRMC reported incidents of flooding in the provinces of Camarines Sur, Capiz, Cotabato and Lanao del Sur, among others.

Sotmr damage after Tyhoo Rain in Isla de Pitogo, Philippines. Photo: Office of the Mayor of Isla de Pitogo
Flood rescues in Negros Occidental Typhoo Rai, Philippines, December 2021. Photo: Philippines Coast Guard

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