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Mass evacuations as super Typhoon Rai slams into Philippines with wind gusts of up to 240km/h (149 mph) - At least 375 killed, 56 missing (UPDATES)

Rescuer assists a girl as they wade through flooding caused by Typhoon Rai in Cagayan de Oro City, southern Philippines on Thursday, December 16, 2021
© Philippine Coast Guard
Rescuer assists a girl as they wade through flooding caused by Typhoon Rai in Cagayan de Oro City, southern Philippines on Thursday, December 16, 2021
Red Cross says millions at risk as 'one of the world's strongest storms of 2021' makes landfall in the Philippines.

Tens of thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes in the Philippines as "one of the world's strongest storms" of the year made landfall in mid-eastern parts of the island nation.

The Philippine's weather bureau, PAGASA, said Typhoon Rai made its first landfall in Surigao del Norte's Siargao Island at 05:30 GMT on Thursday.

It warned of "very destructive typhoon-force winds" in parts of the country and said it expected to see storm surges in coastal areas, as well as flooding and landslides in mountainous areas along the typhoon's path.


Comment: Update: The Guardian carries this AFP report on December 18:
Typhoon Rai: rescue efforts continue after strongest storm to hit Philippines this year

Damage caused by super typhoon Rai after the storm crossed over Surigao City in Surigao del Norte province.
© Philippine Coast Guard
Damage caused by super typhoon Rai after the storm crossed over Surigao City in Surigao del Norte province.
At least 33 people have been killed in the strongest typhoon to hit the Philippines this year, official tallies showed on Saturday, with a charity reporting "alarming" destruction on islands that bore the brunt of the storm.

More than 300,000 people fled their homes and beachfront resorts as Typhoon Rai ravaged the southern and central regions of the archipelago, knocking out communications and electricity in many areas, ripping off roofs and toppling concrete power poles.

Rai was a super typhoon when it slammed into Siargao Island on Thursday, packing maximum sustained winds of 195 km/h (120 mph). On Friday, wind speeds eased to 150 km/h, the state weather forecaster said.

Aerial photos shared by the military showed widespread damage in the town of General Luna, where many surfers and holidaymakers had flocked for Christmas, with buildings stripped of roofs and debris littering the ground.



"Everything was flying, it was as if it was the end of the world," Raphy Repdos, a tour operator visiting the island when the storm hit, told AFP.

A neighbouring island, Dinagat, had been "levelled to the ground" by the storm, governor Arlene Bag-ao wrote on Facebook, saying houses, boats and fields were destroyed.

"Walls and roofs were torn and blown off by Odette like paper," Bag-ao said, using the local name for the typhoon.


"We have a dwindling supply of food and water. Electricity and telecommunications are down."

The storm also lashed the popular tourist destination of Palawan island after ravaging the Visayas and the southern island of Mindanao.

The earthquake happened around 40 miles from Pondaguitan in the Philippines.

"We are seeing people walking in the streets, many of them shell-shocked," ABS-CBN correspondent Dennis Datu reported from hard-hit Surigao, which is on the northern tip of Mindanao and near Siargao.

"All buildings sustained heavy damage, including the provincial disaster office. It looks like it's been hit by a bomb."

The main roads leading into the coastal city had been cut off by landslides, fallen trees and toppled power poles, he said.

Rai's wind speeds eased to 150km/h as it barrelled across the country, dumping torrential rain that flooded villages, uprooting trees and shattering wooden structures.

It emerged over the South China Sea on Saturday and was heading towards Vietnam, the state weather forecaster said.

"This is indeed one of the most powerful storms that has hit the Philippines in the month of December in the last decade," Alberto Bocanegra, the head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in the Philippines, told AFP.

"The information we are receiving and the pictures we are receiving are very alarming."

The overall death toll was least 33, according to official tallies.

Communications were still down in Siargao, which took the brunt of the storm, and Bocanegra said the organisation had "grave fears" for people there.

The Philippine coast guard shared photos on social media showing widespread destruction with roofs torn off buildings, wooden structures shattered and palm trees stripped of fronds around Surigao.

Aerial footage showed swathes of rice fields under water.

Scores of flights were cancelled across the country and dozens of ports temporarily closed as the weather bureau warned that metre-high storm surges could cause "life-threatening flooding" in low-lying coastal areas.

The country's second busiest airport in Cebu was damaged and flights have been suspended, Jalad said.

"The devastation is hard to explain," said Joel Darunday, 37, a tour operator in the central island province of Bohol, who was hunkered down at home with his family when the storm ripped off the roof.

"It was very strong. The last time I experienced something like this was back in the 1980s."

People began clearing fallen trees, branches and debris from roads as clean-up efforts and relief operations got under way in areas hit by Rai.

Verified photos taken in Lapu-Lapu city in Cebu province showed roadside buildings flattened by the storm, while sheets of corrugated iron roofing littered streets.

Rai has hit the Philippines late in the typhoon season - most cyclones typically develop between July and October.
Update 2: The Newastle Herald carried this Australian Associated Press report on December 19:
Death toll from Typhoon Rai hits 142

At least 142 people have been killed after Typhoon Rai battered the Philippines.

At least 142 people have been killed after Typhoon Rai battered the Philippines.
The death toll from the strongest typhoon to hit the Philippines this year has risen to 142, as emergency teams reached devastated areas, bringing food, water and other supplies.

More than 480,000 people were displaced by Typhoon Rai, which flattened houses, damaged buildings and knocked out power and communication lines in the country's central and southern provinces, the national disaster agency said on Sunday.

Relief goods were flown in to the affected areas, according to local airlines. Volunteer doctors, rescue workers and other emergency teams were also flown in.

The central province of Bohol reported the highest death toll, at 72, according to its governor Arthur Yap. The number was based on reports from 42 out of 48 towns, he said.

"It is very clear that our people have suffered greatly in terms of destroyed homes and agricultural losses," he noted in a Facebook post.

Yap called for donations of portable generators to distribute among the towns to power water refilling stations, noting, "We cannot survive the next two to three weeks by just waiting for transmission lines to be repaired."

"Supplying the people drinking water is critical and relying on water bottles distribution is merely a stopgap measure which we will not be able to sustain for long," he added.

The island province of Dinagat has recorded 10 fatalities, with five missing, according to Jeffrey Crisostomo, provincial chief information officer.

"Our province survived, but the destruction is everywhere," he told DZBB radio station. "Around 90 per cent to 95 per cent of the province is damaged to totally wrecked."

Crisostomo said even the provincial capital building was damaged by Rai's fierce winds.

"I saw how Rai tore apart our provincial capitol, piece by piece," he said. "The building used to have a second floor, that is now gone. Tables heavier than people were flying at the height of the typhoon."

"It was like a washing machine that was spinning and you don't know where you will run," he added.

Dinagat Governor Arlene Bag-ao earlier likened Rai's aftermath to that of Super Typhoon Haiyan, the strongest typhoon to ever hit the Philippines, killing 6300 people in November 2013.

Haiyan devastated a wide area in the eastern and central Philippines, and displaced more than 4 million people.

Police reported 18 deaths in the nearby province of Negros Occidental, while the national disaster agency said it received reports of 16 people dead in Cebu province.

Twenty-six more fatalities were reported in eight central and southern provinces, according to local officials and police.

Rai moved out of the Philippines on Saturday, but rains were still being monitored in the country's western areas, including Metro Manila.

On Sunday, the typhoon was packing maximum sustained winds of 195 kilometres per hour and gusts of up to 240 km/h as it barrelled towards central Vietnam and Hainan Island in China, the weather bureau said.

The Philippine archipelago is hit by an average of 20 tropical cyclones every year.
Update 3:The Pioneer carried this AP report on December 21:
375 dead, 56 missing after typhoon slams Philippines

The death toll from the strongest typhoon to batter the Philippines this year climbed to 375, with more than 50 others still missing and several central provinces struggling with downed communications and power outages and pleading for food and water, officials said Monday.

At its strongest, Typhoon Rai packed sustained winds of 195 kilometers (121 miles) per hour with gusts of up to 270 kph (168 mph) before blowing out into the South China Sea on Friday.

At least 375 people were killed, 56 were missing and 500 were injured, according to the national police. The toll may still increase because several towns and villages remained out of reach due to downed communications and power outages, although massive cleanup and repair efforts were underway. Many were killed by falling trees and collapsing walls, flash floods and landslides. A 57-year-old man was found dead hanging from a tree branch and a woman was blown away and died in Negros Occidental province, police said.

Governor Arlene Bag-ao of Dinagat Islands, among the southeastern provinces first hit by the typhoon, said Rai's ferocity on her island province of more than 130,000 people was worse than that of Typhoon Haiyan, one of the most powerful and deadliest typhoons on record which devastated the central Philippines in November 2013 but did not inflict any casualties in Dinagat. "If it was like being in a washing machine before, this time there was like a huge monster that smashed itself everywhere, grabbed anything like trees and tin roofs and then hurled them everywhere," Bag-ao said by telephone. "The wind was swirling north to south to east and west repeatedly for six hours. Some tin roof sheets were blown away and then were tossed back." At least 14 villagers died and more than 100 others were injured by flying roofs, debris and glass shards and were treated in makeshift surgery rooms in damaged hospitals in Dinagat, Bag-ao said.

Many more would have died if thousands of residents had not been evacuated from high-risk villages. Dinagat and several other typhoon-hit provinces remained without electricity and communications and many residents needed construction materials, food and water. Bag-ao and other provincial officials traveled to nearby regions that had cellphone signals to seek aid and coordinate recovery efforts with the national government.



Attention

33 pilot whales die in mass stranding in Northland, New Zealand

Thirty-three of the stranded pilot whales died over the weekend.

Thirty-three of the stranded pilot whales died over the weekend.
Thirty-three stranded pilot whales have died after almost 50 were found stranded in the Parengarenga Harbour, in the Far North.

Department of Conservation (DOC) staff, along with local iwi Te Aupōuri, Ngāti Kuri and NgāiTakoto, responded to the mass stranding of 49 whales on Saturday.

A DOC spokeswoman said by the time teams arrived, 14 of the whales were already dead, and an attempt to re-float the surviving whales was made at high tide.

By Sunday, 16 of the whales had been successfully re-floated and ushered out of the harbour into open water, the spokeswoman said, but 33 had died.

Doberman

3-year-old girl killed by dog pack in Delhi, India

dog attack
A three-year-old girl was killed allegedly after she attacked by a pack of stray dogs in west Delhi's Moti Nagar, police said on Monday.

The incident took place on Friday when the girl, Laxmi, was playing at a DDA park and suddenly a pack of dogs attacked and bit her, they said.

The girl's father, a gardener, was working in the park when the incident happened, they said.

''On Friday, at about 2.45 pm, we got an information that a girl named Laxmi aged three was brought dead at a hospital. The body was then shifted to DDU hospital for an autopsy. The girl's parents alleged that their child was severely injured after she was attacked by stray dogs inside the park,'' Deputy Commissioner of Police (West) Urjiva Goel said.

The exact cause of death will be ascertained after the autopsy report, she said, adding that the matter is being investigated further.

Source: PTI

Doberman

3-year-old girl mauled to death by pit bull in South Africa

PIT BULL ATTACK
A three-year-old girl has been mauled to death by a dog in Zwide.

The attack happened on Sunday afternoon and neighbours intervened, but it was too late to save the child.

Police said the pitbull managed to get out of the yard where it was being kept via a broken gate. The dog attacked Simakele Kovu while she was playing in the street with other children.

A resident stabbed the dog multiple times as he tried to save the little girl, but Kovu was bitten several times and died on the scene.

Police said the dog belonged to a teenager who lives in the area. He was apparently not home at the time of the tragedy.

Seismograph

Shallow 6.0 magnitude earthquake off South Sandwich Islands

grpaph
6.0 magnitude earthquake

UTC time: Monday, December 20, 2021 03:39 AM
Your time: Monday, December 20, 2021, 3:39 AM GMT
Magnitude Type: mww
USGS page: M 6.0 - South Sandwich Islands region
USGS status: Reviewed by a seismologist
Reports from the public: 0 people

10 km depth

Seismograph

Shallow 6.3-magnitude earthquake hits 88 km W of Labasa, Fiji: USGS

quake
A 6.3-magnitude earthquake jolted 88 km W of Labasa, Fiji at 16:28:22 GMT on Sunday, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The epicenter, with a depth of 10.0 km, was initially determined to be at 16.2792 degrees south latitude and 178.5516 degrees east longitude.

Fire

Indonesia's Semeru Volcano erupts again prompting evacuation

Mount Semeru
Indonesia's Mount Semeru, the highest peak on the island of Java and an active volcano, awoke on 4 December, spewing a plume of smoke high into the air with fast-moving currents of hot gas and ash rolling down the hillside, swallowing nearby villages.

Early Sunday morning, Indonesia's Semeru volcano erupted, spewing a 2 km high column of ash into the sky.

According to Reuters, authorities announced an evacuation of everyone living nearby.


Seismograph

Shallow 6.0-magnitude eathquake hits Prince Edward Islands region: USGS

maps
An earthquake with a magnitude of 6.0 jolted Prince Edward Islands region at 20:05:44 GMT on Saturday, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The epicenter, with a depth of 10.0 km, was initially determined to be at 47.1 degrees south latitude and 33.4549 degrees east longitude.

Source: Xinhua

Snowflake Cold

Heavy snow falling along Sea of Japan coast - up to 2 feet recorded

snow
Japanese weather officials are warning of possible traffic disruptions and power outages as heavy snow continues falling mainly along the Sea of Japan coast.

The Meteorological Agency says snowfall is intensifying on Saturday due to a strong winter pressure pattern and the emergence of a cold air mass.

The snow is also accumulating. As of 11 a.m., up to 63 centimeters of snow had piled up in Minakami Town, Gunma Prefecture, 55 centimeters in Shinano Town, Nagano Prefecture, and 52 centimeters in the city of Sapporo, Hokkaido.


Doberman

Wisconsin woman dies saving son from pit bull attack

PIT BULL ATTACK
The family of a 35-year-old Shawano County woman is calling her a "hero" after she saved her 4-year-old son from an attack by the family's dog last week.

Heather Pingel, a stay-at-home mother of two and a 2005 Wittenberg-Birnamwood graduate, was rushed by paramedics to Aspirus Wausau Hospital following the Dec. 8 incident at the family's home in Bowler, but her injuries were extensive and she died about noon Thursday, according to her sister, Shannon Pingel.

Her son, Damion Bernarde, received roughly 70 stitches to his leg following the incident, but he is back home with family, Shannon said.

"She is the bravest, strongest mother I know to do that for her child; she risked her life to save him," Shannon said. "She is a hero."