At least 31 people killed as super typhoon devastates Philippines

The Tropical Storm Rai, named Odette locally, that gathered over the Philippines earlier this week intensified rapidly, and by Friday it was classified as a super typhoon, and a category 5 storm.

The monster storm caused “utter destruction,” as it tore through the Philippines, displacing more than 300,000 people and killing at least 31.

With winds reaching 121 miles per hour, Typhoon Rai 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 Philippines‘ 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.

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.

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.

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