The situation is growing increasingly desperate in the central Philippines nearly a week after it was struck by a powerful and deadly typhoon.
Governor Arthur Yap of the island province of Bohol said Tuesday during an interview with a local radio station that the hard-hit province had run out of emergency money to buy food and drinking water for hundreds of thousands of families.
Governor Yap issued a personal appeal to President Rodrigo Duterte, saying if he could not send money for food, “send soldiers and police because lootings” will eventually break out.
At least 375 people died and hundreds were injured as result of Typhoon Rai, which struck the region last Thursday with maximum sustained winds of 195 kilometers per hour and gusts of up to 270 kilometers per hour, making it the strongest typhoon to hit the Pacific archipelago this year. Along with the dead and injured, national police say 56 people are missing.
More than 700,000 people were affected by the typhoon in the central island provinces of Bohol, Dinagat and Siargao, including more than 400,000, who had to be moved to emergency shelters. The government is racing to ship supplies and emergency equipment to the islands to clear downed trees and restore power and cell phone service to millions of residents in over 200 cities and towns.
Aid has begun coming in from Japan, China and international relief agencies.
About 20 storms and typhoons annually batter the Philippines, which lies between the Pacific Ocean and the South China Sea. Some officials have compared the aftermath of Rai to that of Typhoon Haiyan, which killed over 6,000 people in 2013.
The Southeast Asian archipelago also lies in the seismically active Pacific "Ring of Fire" region, making it one of the world's most disaster-prone countries.
Some information for this report came from the Associated Press, Reuters, and Agence France-Presse.