Typhoon survivors in the Philippines warn that food is running out, Reuters reports

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© Reuters. Philippine Coast Guard personnel unload packages of goods to help victims of Typhoon Rai, Bacolod, Negros Occidental, Philippines, 21 December 2021 Philippine Coast Guard / Handout via REUTERS

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Authors Neil Jerome Morales and Karen Lema

MANILA (Reuters) – Philippine officials and residents of the area affected by Typhoon Rai prayed on Tuesday for food, water and shelter as damaged roads, floods and broken power and communications lines hampered aid efforts.

Rai hit last Thursday, the strongest typhoon to hit the archipelago this year, killing nearly 400 people and affecting 1.8 million, displacing 630,000, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

“Our food supply is running low. We may run out completely in a few days,” said Fely Pedrablanca, mayor of Tubajon on Dinagat Island.

The area, facing the Pacific Ocean, was devastated by a typhoon and said only nine of more than 2,000 homes in her city remained standing.

The Coast Guard has deployed vessels to help provide assistance and in an attempt to reach areas that are still cut off, including the Dinagat.

Evacuation centers have also been destroyed in Southern Leyte province, said Roger Mercado, acting head of the public works agency, looking for tents and building materials.

Damage to infrastructure in southern Leyte, where residents also desperately needed food and water, could reach 3 billion pesos ($ 60.14 million), Mercado told DZMM radio.

“The damage is very great similar to that in Yolanda,” Mercado said, referring to Typhoon Haiyan, one of the most powerful tropical cyclones ever recorded, which killed 6,300 people in the Philippines in 2013.

At least 375 people have been killed and 56 are missing. More than 500 were injured, police said Tuesday.

“The government has pre-determined food and non-food items, but they are not enough because many are in need,” Danilo Atienza, Southern Leyte’s chief of disaster, told Reuters.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday ordered state agencies to restore electricity and communications as he pledged 10 billion pesos ($ 200 million) for recovery efforts.

Foreign aid has also begun to arrive, including Japan and China, while the United Nations has said it is working with partners to help in areas of shelter, health, food, protection and other life-saving measures.

(1 USD = 49.8700 Philippine Pesos)

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