Typhoon Odete (Rai) kills at least 31 in Philippines

More than 30 people were killed in the strongest typhoon to hit the Philippines this year, official figures showed Saturday, with a charity reporting "alarming" destruction on islands that bore the brunt of the storm.

Hundreds of thousands 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.

Typhoon Rai blew away Friday night into the South China Sea after rampaging through southern and central island provinces, where more than 300,000 people in its path were evacuated to safety in advance in a pre-emptive move officials say may have saved a lot of lives.

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

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