The Philippines set to work clearing debris, reconnecting power and rebuilding flattened houses on Thursday after a typhoon swept across the country killing 38 people, with at least eight missing, rescue officials said.
Typhoon Rammasun, the strongest storm to hit the Philippines this year, was heading towards China after cutting a path across the main island of Luzon, shutting down the capital and knocking down trees and power lines, causing widespread blackouts.
The storm destroyed about 7,000 houses and damaged 19,000, the executive director of the National Disaster Agency, Alexander Pama, said. More than 530,000 people had taken refuge in evacuation centers, according to official figures.
Pama put the damage to crops, mostly rice and corn, from the Bicol region, southeast of Manila and the first to be hit by the storm, at around 668 million pesos, or about $15 million.
Most schools remained closed in the capital and southern Luzon, the most densely populated part of the country with about 17 million people. Power had been restored to just over half of the Luzon grid, a transmission agency official said.
Electricity distributor Manila Electric said a third of its 1.88 million customers were without power.
Disaster officials were still assessing damage but the coconut-growing Quezon province south of Manila appears to have borne the brunt of Rammasun, which intensified into a category 3 typhoon as it crossed the country.