Typhoon Death Toll Continues to Rise in Philippines

The death toll from a powerful typhoon that struck the central Philippines last week has risen to at least 375, with dozens still missing and several areas pleading for food and water.

The national police said Monday 56 people were still missing and 500 people injured as a result of Typhoon Rai.

The toll was expected to increase because several towns and villages remained out of reach due to downed communications, power outages and clogged roads.

Rai packed sustained winds of 195 kilometers per hour and gusts of up to 270 kilometers per hour before it blew out Friday into the South China Sea.

More than 700,000 people were lashed by the typhoon in central island provinces, including more than 400,000 who had to be moved to emergency shelters.

President Rodrigo Duterte visited Cebu and Bohol over the weekend and stressed the need to fix water supply issues for affected residents.

Emergency crews were scrambling to restore electricity and cellphone service in at least 227 cities and towns, officials said, adding that three regional airports were also damaged.

About 20 storms and typhoons annually batter the Philippines, which lies between the Pacific Ocean and the South China Sea.

The Southeast Asian archipelago also lies along the seismically active Pacific “Ring of Fire” region, making it one of the world’s most disaster-prone countries.