More than 200 dead after powerful Typhoon Rai slams Philippines

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MANILA, Philippines — The death toll following the strongest typhoon to batter the Philippines this year has risen to more than 200, with 52 other people still missing and several central towns and provinces grappling with downed communications and power outages and pleading for food and water, officials said Monday.

At its strongest, the typhoon packed sustained winds of 121 miles per hour and gusts of up to 168 mph before it blew out Friday into the South China Sea.

At least 208 people were killed, 52 remained missing and 239 were injured, according to the national police. The toll was expected to increase because several towns and villages remained out of reach due to downed communications and power outages although massive clean-up and repair efforts were underway.

Many died due to falling trees and collapsing walls, flash flood and landslides. A 57-year-old man was found dead hanging from a tree branch and a woman was blown away by the wind 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 was worse than that of Typhoon Haiyan, one of the most powerful and deadliest typhoons on record and which devastated the central Philippines in November 2013 but did not inflict any casualties in Dinagat.

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