At least 49 people have died in the central Philippine province of Bohol, which was hit hard by the powerful typhoon Rai that slammed into the country last week, provincial governor Arthur Yap said on Sunday, as relief operations continued.
The official death toll, however, was still at 31. The national disaster agency, when asked if they were aware of the Bohol numbers, said its operations unit was yet to receive an official report from its provincial unit.
In Bohol, communication lines and power supply remained unavailable two days after Rai pummelled it, Yap said. The province is home to some of the country’s popular tourist destinations, such as the Loboc River, which overflowed.
“It is very clear that the damage sustained by Bohol is great and all-encompassing,” he said in a video posted on his Facebook account. “People have suffered greatly in terms of destroyed homes and agricultural losses.”
He appealed for relief donations, especially drinking water.
Rai, among the deadliest of the tropical storms to strike the Philippine archipelago this year, made nine landfalls, with a massive trail of destruction also reported in the provinces of Cebu, Leyte, Surigao del Norte, including the popular Siargao surfing destination, and Dinagat Islands.
In Dinagat Islands in the south, where strong winds damaged about 90% to 95% of houses, 10 people had died, according to provincial chief information officer Jeffrey Crisostomo.
It was unclear if these deaths were included in the official tally from the disaster agency.
Rai has moved toward the South China Sea, but more than 400,000 people remained in temporary shelters, the disaster agency said in its Sunday morning update.
About 20 tropical storms hit the Philippines every year, usually causing floods and landslides.