Hungary intends to send emergency financial aid to the Philippines to assist those affected by Typhoon Rai, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó announced on Sunday.
In a Facebook post, the Hungarian minister confirmed the nation will send 20 million forints (€55,000) to the South East Asian nation after its strongest typhoon of the year wreaked havoc, claiming at least 146 lives, leaving tens of thousands without homes and millions more without power.
“Just a few days before Christmas, hundreds of thousands of people face terrible difficulties,” Szijjártó told his followers. “In order to ease these burdens, we are sending immediate help to people in need.”
The minister explained that 5 million forints was due to be sent immediately to the Philippine Heritage Site in order to fund food packages for families in difficulty, and a further 15 million forints would reach the Catholic archdiocese on the island of Cebu to restore their damaged churches.
Typhoon Rai left the country off the coast of the South China Sea on Friday night after sweeping through provinces in the southern and central islands, from which more than 300,000 people had previously been evacuated. The winds that accompanied the typhoon reached 195 km/h.
In recent years, it has been one of the strongest windstorms in the South East Asian islands between the Pacific Ocean and the South China Sea. The windstorm struck the island of Siargao in the southeastern part of the country on Thursday, but the exact number of casualties and the extent of the damage is still unknown due to telecommunications disruptions affecting reporting.
Typhoon Rai is the fifteenth tropical storm to hit the Philippines this year. It has been registered as a super-typhoon, meaning its strength corresponds to that of the highest category hurricane on the five-point Saffir-Simpson scale. An average of five tropical storms of similar magnitude occur worldwide each year.