At least 375 people are dead and 56 missing after Super Typhoon Rai tore off roofs, uprooted trees, toppled concrete power poles, smashed wooden houses to pieces, wiped out crops and flooded villages.

More than 380,000 people fled their homes and beachfront resorts as Rai slammed into the country.
More than 380,000 people fled their homes and beachfront resorts as Rai slammed into the country. (AP)

The death toll from the strongest typhoon to hit the Philippines this year has surged to 375, as desperate survivors pleaded for urgent supplies of drinking water and food.

At least 56 people are missing and 500 more injured, the national police said.

More than 380,000 people fled their homes and beachfront resorts as Rai slammed into the country.

The Philippine Red Cross reported "complete carnage" in coastal areas after Super Typhoon Rai left homes, hospitals and schools "ripped to shreds". 

The storm tore off roofs, uprooted trees, toppled concrete power poles, smashed wooden houses to pieces, wiped out crops and flooded villages - sparking comparisons to the damage caused by Super Typhoon Haiyan in 2013.

"SOS" has been painted on a road in the tourist town of General Luna on Siargao Island, where surfers and holidaymakers had flocked ahead of Christmas, as people struggled to find water and food.

"There's no water anymore, there's a water shortage, on day one there was already looting in our neighbourhood," Siargao resort owner Marja O'Donnell told CNN Philippines. 

One of the hardest-hit islands was Bohol - known for its beaches, "Chocolate Hills" and tiny tarsier primates - where at least 94 people have died, provincial Governor Arthur Yap said on Facebook.

In Bohol's coastal town of Ubay, a state of calamity has been declared, with many wooden houses flattened and fishing boats destroyed. 

READ MORE: Death toll in Philippines typhoon tops 200

Rescue efforts continue

With electricity knocked out in many areas, there is no signal or internet, hampering efforts to assess the storm's damage.

Thousands of military, police, coast guard and fire personnel were deployed along with food, water and medical supplies, while heavy machinery – including backhoes and front-end loaders – were sent to clear roads.

President vows to find $40M aid

President Rodrigo Duterte vowed to "look for another" $40 million in aid, which would double his previous pledge.

But some expressed frustration at the government's response. 

"No one showed up - I don't know where the politicians and (election) candidates are," said a visibly angry Levi Lisondra, a resident in Surigao, on the northern tip of Mindanao.

"We paid big taxes when we were working and now they can't help us."

Rai hit the Philippines late in the typhoon season, most cyclones develop between July and October.

The Philippines – ranked among the most vulnerable nations to the impacts of climate change - is hit by an average of 20 storms every year, which typically wipe out harvests, homes and infrastructure in already impoverished areas.

In 2013, Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to have made landfall, leaving over 7,300 people dead or missing. 

READ MORE: Deadly typhoon Rai sends hundreds of thousands fleeing

Source: AFP