WATCH: ‘Utter destruction’ as super typhoon ravages Philippines
More than 300,000 people have been displaced and at least 31 were killed as Typhoon Rai tore through the Philippines. It was the archipelago’s 15th and strongest major storm this year.
The tropical storm, named Rai internationally but named Odette locally, gathered over the Philippines this week, later than most typhoons which typically develop between July and October. It intensified rapidly on Thursday and was classified as a super typhoon, and a category 5 storm, the highest level.
In the worst affected regions, “the monster storm” caused “utter destruction,” journalist David Santos tweeted, sharing images of the aftermath.
More scenes of utter destruction caused by Typhoon Odette in Dapa town in Siargao Island, as residents start cleanup. Govt forces flying in on hardest-hit areas in Surigao to survey the devastation in the aftermath of the monster storm | @cnnphilippines🎥 402nd Bde, PH Army https://t.co/amOxHo5VB6pic.twitter.com/NCFAMf9atn— David Y. Santos (@davidyusantos) December 18, 2021
With winds reaching 195kph (121mph), it ripped off roofs and uprooted trees, creating widespread destruction in its path and leaving houses and swathes of rice fields submerged.
At least 31 people were killed, the country's disaster agency said on Saturday. Most of the fatalities reported were due to falling trees or drowning. Officials said the death toll was preliminary and might rise, as more information from provincial units is yet to come.
Cebu is currently being devastated by Typhoon #OdettePH. I can't describe my feeling so scary outside. This is just inside but you can feel the wrath already. Cebu is home of millions Filipinos. Please pray for the Philippines. We need God during this time. Only miracle can save. pic.twitter.com/Z3DBHGrPOh— Daddy Z (@ZPalmarez) December 16, 2021
#BREAKING#PHILIPPINES🔴PHILIPPINES: TYPHOON RAI INTENSIFIED TO CAT 5 STORM! #TyphoonRai / #TyphoonOdette rapidly intensified to a Category 5 storm before making landfall in the Southern Philippines on Thursday, forcing mass evacuations.#BreakingNews#Video#Storm#Tornadopic.twitter.com/yoTof2i6Uk— loveworld (@LoveWorld_Peopl) December 16, 2021
The typhoon ravaged the southern and central regions of the island country, also hitting popular tourist destinations, including Siargao and Cebu. More than 300,000 people fled their homes and beachfront resorts. Dozens of flights were canceled, leaving about 4,000 people stranded.
BREAKING: Typhoon #OdettePH (international name: Rai) intensifies further, slams into Surigao City in southern part of the Philippines. @cnnphilippines 📹 Surigao City Public Information Office pic.twitter.com/88H8JDz6F4— Rex Remitio (@RexRemitio) December 16, 2021
A local official in the Dinagat Islands said “everything was destroyed,” including evacuation centers, and residents have nowhere to seek refuge. President Rodrigo Duterte announced he would visit the hardest-hit areas on Saturday, saying he doesn’t worry so much about damage to structures, but “fears if many people died.”
After leaving the Philippines on Saturday, forecasters say Rai will emerge over the South China Sea and head towards Vietnam.