Death toll from storm in Philippines rises to 22

People wading through a flooded street yesterday in the town of Baao in Camarines Sur province, where casualties from the weekend storm included a father and his son, who were buried alive in a landslide. A destroyed house in Daet, in Luzon's Camarin
A destroyed house in Daet, in Luzon's Camarines Norte province, in the aftermath of the storm that hit the Philippines during the weekend, causing massive flooding and landslides.PHOTO: REUTERS
People wading through a flooded street yesterday in the town of Baao in Camarines Sur province, where casualties from the weekend storm included a father and his son, who were buried alive in a landslide. A destroyed house in Daet, in Luzon's Camarin
People wading through a flooded street yesterday in the town of Baao in Camarines Sur province, where casualties from the weekend storm included a father and his son, who were buried alive in a landslide.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

MANILA • At least 22 people died from a storm that swept through the central Philippine islands during the weekend, the authorities said yesterday, with rescue operations under way in inundated communities.

The death toll rose from four a day after the storm brought heavy rain to the Bicol and Eastern Visayas regions, causing massive flooding and landslides, the government's office of civil defence said.

Many of the deaths were due to landslides and drowning, it added, saying that floods had yet to recede even as the weather disturbance known locally as Usman weakened into a low pressure area.

"Most of the (affected) areas are underwater. We are sending troops and rubber boats to rescue families. In some areas, the floods have reached the roofs of homes," Mr Claudio Yucot, head of the Bicol region's office of civil defence, told Agence France-Presse.

At least 16 people died in Bicol. Mr Yucot said seven people drowned in Masbate province, while four people died in landslides in Sorsogon province. In Albay province, three people, including a three-year-old boy, died in a landslide, while in Camarines Sur province, a father and son were buried alive in a landslide. Six others were killed in Eastern Visayas, civil defence officials said.

More than 22,000 people fled their homes ahead of the storm, which destroyed crops and left some roads and bridges inaccessible. Government forecasters said yesterday that heavy rain would continue over the next 24 hours in the northern Philippines.

An average of 20 typhoons and storms lash the Philippines each year, killing hundreds of people and leaving millions in near-perpetual poverty. The most powerful was Super Typhoon Haiyan, which left more than 7,360 people dead or missing in 2013.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, XINHUA

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 31, 2018, with the headline 'Death toll from storm in Philippines rises to 22'. Print Edition | Subscribe