3-year-old boy among 9 killed by Christmas typhoon as it pummels Visayas islands

Debris of damaged houses in the Eastern Visayas island of Biliran on Christmas morning<I>Photo: Randy Borja / ABS-CBN News</I>
Debris of damaged houses in the Eastern Visayas island of Biliran on Christmas morningPhoto: Randy Borja / ABS-CBN News

A 3-year-old boy was among at least nine people killed after Typhoon Phanfone (local name Ursula) made landfall in Eastern Samar on Christmas Eve, while several people remain missing and over 12,000 families were evacuated across Southern Luzon and Visayas.

Phanfone made landfall in Salcedo town at around 4:45pm on Dec. 24, packing winds of 120kph and gusts of up to 150kph. A storm signal warning #3 (indicating moderate to heavy wind damage) was raised in 7 areas in Visayas, which was the area hit hardest by Phanfone, with several provinces suffering severe flooding and destruction to homes and buildings, Rappler reports.

According to the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), two of the typhoon’s fatalities were from Pontevedra, Capiz; six were killed in Iloilo in the towns of Batad and Balasan; and one person died in Abuyog, Leyte, GMA News reports. In Iloilo, six people, including four minors, were also reported missing in the village of Pasayan in Batad, according to Sunstar Iloilo.

Provincial Disaster Office Head Jerry Bionat told DZMM this morning that several people’s disappearances was due to the fact that families were evacuating during the height of the storm. He said that heavy rainfall resulted in flash flooding, which occurred “in a matter of three hours.”

In its report this morning, the National Disaster Risk and Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) said that 12,364 families, or 58,400 people, had been evacuated out of the typhoon’s path in Mimaropa, Bicol, and Central and Eastern Visayas as of Wednesday evening.

The NDRRMC adds that typhoon Phanfone caused power outages in a total of 84 cities and towns in Western and Eastern Visayas. Only 24 of the affected areas have had their power restored as of this morning. NDRRMC also reports that as of Wednesday evening, a total of 15,786 passengers in the affected regions were stranded in air and seaports because of the typhoon.

In its weather bulletin released at 11am today, the state weather bureau said that Phanfone has slightly weakened. It’s left Visayas and is moving west-northwest over the West Philippine Sea. Light to moderate rains with intermittent heavy spells are still expected on the northern portion of Palawan, while cloudy skies and scattered rains are forecasted over Central Luzon and Metro Manila.

The typhoon is expected to leave the country by Saturday morning. Phanfone is the 21st and possibly last tropical cyclone to hit the Philippines this year.

Read more Coconuts Manila articles here.

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