Nine people have died and hundreds have fallen ill with diarrhoea in areas of the Philippines wrecked by a typhoon last month, with aid officials warning of a health crisis as millions struggle to secure clean water and food. Three weeks after Typhoon Rai struck southern and central islands, destroying thousands of homes and killing more than 400 people, relief work continues to deliver supplies to stranded residents left homeless by the storm.
Nine people have died from dehydration caused by diarrhoea in the impoverished Dinagat Islands and the neighbouring resort island of Siargao, known for its surf spots, the Philippine health department’s regional office said. Local health officials are also monitoring respiratory infections after at least two cases turned out to be COVID-19. A total of 895 cases were recorded there since the typhoon struck, mostly among those left homeless, as the government and aid agencies rush to build emergency water treatment facilities, department spokesman Ernesto Pareja told media.
A total of 402 people died from the typhoon, according to the Philippine civil defence office’s latest tally, with more than 1,200 injured and 78 still missing and at least 370,000 still in evacuation centres. The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said the government’s preparations for the storm and early response had been “laudable” but warned that more support was needed. Survivors have likened the storm to Super Typhoon Haiyan, which left 7,300 people dead or missing across the central Philippines in 2013 and remains the country’s deadliest on record.