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Typhoon Rai death toll in Philippines surges to 389******
The death toll from Typhoon Rai in the Philippines has surged to 389, with 64 more missing, a government disaster agency said on Monday.。
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said that the typhoon, which made landfall in the Philippines on December 16, also injured 1,146.。
The agency said the the typhoon has affected more than 4.2 million people in 11 regions in central and southern parts of the Philippines, as well as parts of the main Luzon Island.。
The typhoon, the 15th and most powerful to have hit the country this year, forced villagers to spend their holiday season days in evacuation centers because of damaged houses.。
According to the agency, nearly 315,000 of more than 570,000 displaced people are temporarily housed in 1,179 evacuation centers. More than 500,000 houses were destroyed.。
Typhoon damage to agriculture and infrastructure has reached over 22 billion pesos (about 440 million US dollars).。
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire told an online briefing that the typhoon damaged 141 health facilities, including hospitals, in five areas hit hard by the storm.。
The Philippines' Department of Health (DOH) has monitored food and water-borne diseases like diarrhea and acute gastroenteritis in typhoon-hit areas. Some patients were taken to hospitals.。
Vergeire urged the evacuees to follow ways to avoid infections amid the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that it is imperative to watch for evacuees with coronavirus symptoms, and make separate rooms for the vulnerable such as the elderly.。
She said that the typhoon has also affected 62 testing laboratories for COVID-19 and wasted thousands of doses of vaccines due to power outages.。
The government continues to bring aid to the affected areas, including food, drinking water, while restoring damaged roads, telecommunications and houses.。
China has offered urgent assistance including food packages, donated rice, and cash to support relief and recovery efforts of the Philippine government and to help victims of the typhoon disaster in the Southeast Asian country.。
IOC President, Greece convey warm wishes to Beijing for 2022 Winter Olympics******
OLYMPIA, Greece, Oct. 18 (Xinhua) -- International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach and Greek officials conveyed best wishes for a successful Games from the birthplace of the Olympic movement ahead of the lighting ceremony of the Olympic flame that will burn for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.
On Monday, during a ritual sun-ray ceremony inside the stadium of Ancient Olympia in western Greece where the Games were born centuries ago, the sacred flame will be ignited and will start its journey to Beijing.
"We are all looking forward to a great and successful Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022, when Beijing will write history as the first ever city to organize both editions of the Olympic Games, Summer and Winter, and when we will celebrate with the Chinese people a great festival of sport and winter sport. So, looking forward to see you soon in Beijing," Bach said on Sunday during an event at the premises of the International Olympic Academy overlooking the stadium.
Greek Deputy Culture and Sports Minister Lefteris Avgenakis expressed confidence in the success of the XXIV Winter Olympics that will run from February 4 to 20, 2022, followed by the Paralympics.
"We are very happy that Beijing is hosting the Olympics again; this time, after 2008, the 2022 Winter Olympics. It will succeed just as well in organizing the forthcoming Winter Olympics," he told Xinhua during a recent event in Athens, near the marble stadium where the flame will be handed over to the 2022 Games organizers on Tuesday.
"We are confident that our Chinese friends will organize fantastic Games in Beijing," Spyros Capralos, President of the Hellenic Olympic Committee and member of the International Olympic Committee, added during the same event.
"Greek and Chinese civilizations meet again in less than 15 years for both the Summer Olympics and the Winter Games. I think it is a happy occasion, because the Chinese people proved in 2008 that they know how to organize an excellent Olympic Games," Mayor of Ancient Olympia, Georgios Georgiopoulos, told Xinhua.
"It was probably one of the best Games organized in recent years and we believe that this event will have the same success," he said.
Artemis Ignatiou, the choreographer and artistic director of the Olympic Flame Lighting and Handover ceremonies in Ancient Olympia and Athens since Beijing 2008, also sent her warmest wishes to Beijing when speaking to Xinhua amidst rehearsals inside the ancient stadium.
"I hope that there will be great Olympic Games in Beijing, with incredible records, [I wish] great success and I send my love and positive energy," she said.
Greek actress Xanthi Georgiou, who will hold the role of the Ancient Greek High Priestess and ignite the flame using the sun's rays during Monday's ceremony here, also has a special link to Beijing. She was one of the priestesses escorting another High Priestess in 2008.
"Beijing, from the bottom of my heart, I send you best wishes for good luck," she told Xinhua on Sunday here after a rehearsal.
"Being an athlete trying to compete in the Olympic Games is something really special to be in this place," added Ioannis Antoniou, the Greek skier who will be the first torchbearer to receive the flame from the High Priestess inside the ancient stadium, before sending his warmest wishes to Beijing in Chinese. Enditem