Manila: The death toll from the powerful typhoon Rai that lashed the Philippines last week has increased to 208, a top police official confirmed on Monday, adding that 52 people were still unaccounted for.
However, Philippine National Police spokesperson Colonel Roderick Alba only provided details of the reported 29 deaths caused by typhoon Rai, the 15th and the most destructive typhoon to hit the Southeast Asian country this year, reports Xinhua news agency.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported only 58 deaths on Monday. Only four of the 58 are confirmed.
The agency also reported that 18 people were missing.
Bohol in the central Philippines is one of the hardest-hit by Rai.
Bohol Governor Arthur Yap said on Monday that 94 people died in his province alone, while at least 18 more are missing.
The NDRRMC said close to 1 million people have been affected by the typhoon, including 442,424 displaced residents.
It added that the initial estimate of damage to agriculture is 118.28 million pesos and 225.17 million pesos worth of infrastructure.
On December 16, the typhoon first slammed into Siargao Island, off the eastern coast on Mindanao island .
Rai lashed the Philippines for three days, causing flooding and landslides and leaving a trail of destruction in the central and southern region, including some areas in the main Luzon island.
“We are still assessing the damage, but it is huge. The typhoon leveled the entire community to the ground, no electricity, water, and food,” said Defence Secretary and NDRRMC Chairman Delfin Lorenzana.
He said the government is now addressing the food, water, and medical care of those injured.
“I have directed the armed forces to deploy all available assets such as ships, boats, aircraft, and trucks to bring relief goods to the stricken areas and the deployment of troops if necessary,” Lorenzana said.
Meanwhile, NDRRMC spokesperson Mark Timbal said 29 foreign nationals have been evacuated from Siargao Island, famous for surfing.
“The tourists have been identified, and they are in good condition,” he added.