In the afternoon of Thursday the 16 December 2021, the region of CARAGA and other affected regions in the Philippines, was battered by catastrophic winds sustained at 195 kilometers per hour with gusts of up to 270 km/h brought by Super Typhoon Rai (local name: Odette). Typhoon Rai, a category 5 typhoon in its initial landfall, wreaked havoc in several regions and made landfall in a number of areas in Mindanao and Visayas (southern Philippines) and parts of Luzon. According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), Typhoon Rai has killed at 31 people and displaced 488,463 persons, with numbers still increasing as reports from the local government units continue to pour in. The typhoon left the Philippine area of responsibility on Saturday afternoon, 18 December.
Tropical Cyclone Warning Signal 4 was raised in several provinces which meant very destructive typhoon-force winds were experienced. Floodwaters in some areas reached chest-high and some even reaching the roofs of many houses, inundating many low-lying communities. Flashfloods and storm surges were reported in coastal areas. Houses and infrastructure, as well as agricultural lands were devastated. There were power outages and downed telecommunication lines caused by heavy rains and strong winds, making it very challenging to get information on the damages in badly affected areas, particularly small islands. The Philippines is the ninth country most-prone to the impacts of climate change, and the poor communities are the ones mostly experiencing the brunt of extreme climate-induced weather events.
Evacuation centers for the typhoon affected families are being updated since some of them were used as isolation facilities to those who contracted COVID-19. Since the Omicron variant was just detected in the country, there is a possibility of an outbreak if the cases will not be detected and contained. Meanwhile, the supposed mass COVID-19 vaccination drive in most of the country was postponed due to the storm.