Typhoon ruins Christmas for travellers, evacuees in Philippines

Typhoon ruins Christmas for travellers, evacuees in Philippines

A man walks past damaged homes after Typhoon Phanfone swept through Tanauan, Leyte, in the Philippines on Dec 25, 2019, in this photo obtained from social media. (Paul Cinco/via REUTERS)
A man walks past damaged homes after Typhoon Phanfone swept through Tanauan, Leyte, in the Philippines on Dec 25, 2019, in this photo obtained from social media. (Paul Cinco/via REUTERS)

MANILA: Christmas turned to chaos for many holiday observers in the central Philippines as a typhoon with strong winds and heavy rains destroyed homes, cut off power and stranded travellers, disaster officials said on Wednesday.

Typhoon Phanfone, known as Ursula in the Philippines, was rated category 2 by Tropical Storm Risk. It was packing maximum sustained winds of 120km per hour with gusts up to 150 kph when it made landfall in the eastern province of Samar on Tuesday, weather and disaster officials said.

More than 4,000 people have been evacuated in the Eastern Visayas region of the central Philippines, disaster officials said, although no deaths have been reported.

Images posted by Paul Cinco, a resident of Tanauan, Leyte province, showed strong gusts and damage caused overnight.

"The aftermath of course made us sad because it's Christmas Day, but it doesn't feel like Christmas, but we're blessed to be safe...no major devastation or casualties reported," he said.

More than 20,000 passengers and 157 vessels were stranded in ports on Wednesday, and at least 60 domestic flights have been cancelled. Local media reported that 100 homes in the path of the storm were destroyed overnight.

An average of 20 typhoons cross the Philippines each year, with storms becoming fiercer in recent years. More than 6,000 people died and 200,000 homes destroyed when Typhoon Haiyan, the strongest-ever storm to make landfall in the Philippines, hit the central islands of Leyte and Samar six years ago. Phanfone, which gained strength as it barrelled through the central region, is expected to exit the country on Thursday. 


Do you like the content of this article?
COMMENT

Domestic flights allowed to operate at full capacity

Domestic flights may fly at full capacity from 75% previously starting on Saturday, in line with the relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions.

12:35

Luk thung legend Pornsak dies aged 60

Legendary luk thung and mor lam singer Pornsak Songsang collapsed at his house in Nong Bua Lam Phu province and died at a hospital on Friday night. He was 60.

11:18

Drug bill changes to 'lighten sentences'

A new bill that will give drug convicts the chance to reduce their jail terms is set to become law, according to the Department of Corrections.

10:00