Dec. 19 (UPI) — Dozens more people are feared dead in the Philippines after Super Typhoon Rai tore through the islands late last week.
Although the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council maintained the death toll at 31 reports of fatalities from individual provinces indicated as many as 140 people may be dead.
Arthur Yap, governor of the Bohol province, said that as of noon Sunday as many as 72 people were feared dead in the province alone, based on field reports from community leaders.
“It is very clear that the damage sustained by Bohol is great and all-encompassing,” said Yap.
Another 13 people were believed dead in Cebu Province with the possibility that the toll may rise as clearing operations advance, councilor David Tumulak said.
Police Cheif Maj. James Layton said another 13 people died in Sipalay City in Negros Occidental province.
The typhoon first roared ashore Thursday afternoon with the equivalent strength of a Category 5 hurricane and made seven more landfalls as it weaved through the various islands that make up the south-central Philippines.
It struck with 160 mph winds and gusts of 185 mph along with heavy rain and flooding, bringing an estimated cost of $4.2 million in damage, according to the state news agency PNA.
About 332,000 people have also been evacuated from their homes, according to the NDRRMC.