Governor of typhoon-hit Philippines region says he won’t be able to stop looting if they don’t receive aid

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Residents stand amid damaged homes following Typhoon Rai in Talisay, Cebu province, central Philippines (AP)
Residents stand amid damaged homes following Typhoon Rai in Talisay, Cebu province, central Philippines (AP)

A week after Typhoon Rai ravaged the Philippines, the governor of the central Bohol province has asked the federal administration for money and food aid for desolate citizens, in the absence of which he warned looting would break out.

Talking on local radio network DZBB, governor Arthur Yap said he is unable to provide food and other aid to visibly desperate and typhoon-hit millions after replenishing his contingency fund as the island province has been left without power and cellphone reception.

"If you would not send money for food, you should send soldiers and police, because if not, lootings will break out here," the governor said after thanking president Rodrigo Duterte for visiting Bohol over the weekend.

He said some incidents of looting have been reported from small merchandise stores.

Mr Yap warned that the situation of theft and loot can worsen if people grow desperate for their survival, even as he stated that the situation remained under control.

He added that people on the disaster-hit archipelago are unable to withdraw their cash from banks without power connection and cellphone reception.

The local crisis has been compounded by fuel and water shortages which have led to long queues, the governor said in his radio address.

He stated that he will not be able to stop the consequences without outside help, army troops and the police.

However, the national police said widespread looting was not a problem in the concerned areas. They said they were ready to deal with any lawlessness.

Battered by the most powerful typhoon ever this year witnessed, officials in the Philippines reported 375 deaths, 500 injured and 50 missing, including nearly 100 dead in Bohol.

The toll is expected to surge as rescue operations comb the affected areas.

The federal administration’s social welfare department has vowed to help the homeless and displaced locals with 35,000 food packets after the president’s visit.

However, the packets are yet to reach the tens of thousands. At least 375,000 families inhabit Bohol.

Rescue operations launched by the government’s emergency crew are expected to restore the power connection in 227 cities and towns.

As of Monday, power connections have resumed only in 21 cities and towns, while 106 cities and towns have started receiving cellphone connection.

The typhoon has torpedoed the island nation which was still recovering from Covid-19 pandemic and had used up most of its emergency funds to help the coronavirus-affected population.

President Duterte vowed that the administration will raise two billion pesos (£30m) from the state agency savings in a bid to support the typhoon-hit areas.

Island nation’s Asian neighbours Japan and China have come together to help the Philippines with power generators, camping tents, sleeping pads, water containers and tarpaulin roofing sheets, and 20,000 food packs and rice, respectively.

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