Tropical storms wreaks havoc in Phillipines
MANILA – Tropical Storm Wukong left six people dead and two missing as it cut through the central Philippines, following devastating Typhoon Bopha that killed hundreds earlier this month, officials said Thursday.
The toll from the latest storm was relatively low as the public, alarmed by the huge number of fatalities left by Bopha, were quick to take precautionary measures, civil defence chief Benito Ramos told AFP.
“They were all aware that a typhoon was coming. They were all aware of what happened with (Bopha). The deaths are minimal compared to (Bopha),” he said.
Three people were killed when a tree fell on their home in the central island of Samar while three others were washed away by overflowing rivers, he said.
The civil defence office earlier said five were confirmed dead and three missing but this was adjusted after one body was recovered, said Ramos.
Wukong hit the central islands on Christmas Day, bringing strong winds and rains but gradually weakening as it moved across the region.
On Thursday the storm weakened into a low-pressure area as it passed the westernmost island of Palawan, moving out into the South China Sea .
While Wukong was not as strong as the typhoon, over 6,000 people still huddled in evacuation centres and roads and bridges were rendered impassable by landslides and floods, the disaster monitoring council said.
Floods and landslides unleashed by Bopha, which hit on December 4 and was the strongest storm to batter the disaster-prone country this year, killed more than 1,000 people and hundreds more remain missing, according to officials.
Relief efforts are still going on in areas in the southern Philippines ravaged by Bopha, with entire towns wiped out by flashfloods.
The Philippines is hit by about 20 major storms or typhoons each year that occur mainly during the rainy season between June and October. – AFP