Death toll in Philippine Typhoon Kammuri rises to 17 as storm moves off

Residents are seen after Typhoon Kammuri hit Camalig town, Philippines, on Dec 3, 2019.
Residents are seen after Typhoon Kammuri hit Camalig town, Philippines, on Dec 3, 2019.PHOTO: REUTERS

MANILA (REUTERS, BLOOMBERG) - The death toll from a typhoon that hit provinces south of the Philippine capital rose to 17, disaster agencies said on Wednesday (Dec 4), pointing to precautions and compulsory evacuations as key in preventing more casualties.

Typhoon Kammuri, the 20th to enter the Philippines this year, hit land on Monday night, prompting the forced evacuation of about half a million residents and cancellation of hundreds of flights.

Five people died in Bicol region on the southern tip of the main Luzon island, 11 others in other parts of Luzon and one in Visayas, according to reports from police and local disaster management agencies.

At least 800 million pesos ($21.3 million) of damage to agriculture was recorded in Bicol and South-western Tagalog regions alone, local disaster management officials reported. 

Parts of 12 roads and three bridges remain closed, said the national disaster management council’s latest bulletin. 

It also disrupted the schedule for some events in the South-east Asian Games, which the Philippines is hosting until Dec 11.

Five people died in the central Bicol region, including three who drowned, the local disaster agency said in a report.

Five more were killed in a region south of the capital.

Around 345,000 people are still in evacuation centres, awaiting the authorities' clearance for them to return home, disaster agency spokesman Mark Timbal told broadcaster ANC.

"The storm left the usual damage of major storms such as fallen trees, ruined roofs of houses and some government facilities," Mr Timbal said.

Officials said forced evacuations and preparations prevented greater loss of life.

Sustained winds of Kammuri weakened to 100kmh, with gusts of up to 125kmh as it headed towards the South China Sea.

 
 

It is set to leave the Philippines on Wednesday night, the state weather bureau said.

An average of 20 typhoons annually hit the Philippines, an archipelago of more than 7,000 islands.