Kuala Lumpur/Manila, December 17, 2021 -- Villages have been smashed by destructive winds and towns are underwater after Super Typhoon Rai bulldozed across the Philippines.
Red Cross emergency response teams are helping rescue people in severe floods that submerged large areas of cities including Cagayan de Oro, Bohol and Kabankalan city according to initial assessments.
More than 140,000 people have been severely affected. Homes and infrastructure have been devastated across islands in the eastern Philippines including Mindanao, Siargao and Nonoc.
Philippine Red Cross Chairman Richard Gordon said:
"This is one of the most powerful typhoons to ever hit the southern Philippines. It has torn houses to pieces, it's dumping torrential rain, and severely flooding cities and towns.
"Top priority is preventing loss of life, rescuing people from floodwaters, providing medical care and first aid, hot meals, and drinking water to people who don't know whether they still have a home left standing.
"We are ramping up relief efforts and standing by our Filipino people. This typhoon is a terrible surprise for the festive season."
Red Cross volunteer and emergency teams are serving thousands of hot meals and providing relief, including medical care, first aid and psychological support, with tens of thousands of people stranded at evacuation centres. Emergency teams are rushing to the worst affected islands to assess the scale of the damage and provide critical relief.
IFRC Head of Philippine Country Office Alberto Bocanegra said:
"The full picture is only just starting to emerge, but it is clear there is widespread devastation. It is heartbreaking to see homes, Red Cross offices and even a hospital ripped apart.
"We hold grave fears for people in areas including Siargao and other islands that still have no communication and contact with the outside world.
"It's essential to get relief, including tarpaulins for shelter, food supplies and healthcare to people who face the toughest days of their lives."
For more information or to arrange an interview, contact:
In Kuala Lumpur: Antony Balmain, +60 12 230 8451, email@example.com
IFRC is the world's largest humanitarian network, comprising 192 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies working to save lives and promote dignity around the world.