Monday 27 January 2020

At least 16 dead as typhoon with 200kmh winds causes devastation in Philippines

Wreck: Damage caused by Typhoon Phanfone
Wreck: Damage caused by Typhoon Phanfone

Kate Ng

At least 16 people have been confirmed dead as the Philippines counted the cost of a devastating typhoon that ripped through the centre of the country on Christmas Day.

Typhoon Phanfone made landfall on Tuesday night, but the extent of the damage was only just becoming clear yesterday.

More than 58,000 people had been evacuated before Tuesday but about 15,000 others were stranded at ports when ferry services were suspended.

Also known as Ursula, the storm brought winds of up to 200kmh, heavy rain and widespread flooding. It has left widespread property damage in its wake, having torn roofs from houses and knocked down electric posts.

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The deaths came in the central provinces of Capiz, Iloilo and Leyte, and included a 13-year-old boy who was electrocuted, a man killed by a falling tree branch and another killed in a car accident, the country's main disaster agency said.

According to Agence-France Press, Phanfone hit popular tourist destinations such as the islands of Boracay and Coron.

Internet access was cut on Boracay following the storm due to fallen telephone and electrical poles, and networks remained down yesterday.

Authorities on a neighbouring island said ferry services to and from Boracay were still not operating yesterday,

The typhoon left the Philippines on Wednesday night, heading west towards the South China Sea.

Phanfone has been described as a younger sibling of 2013's super typhoon Haiyan, which is the country's deadliest storm on record. Haiyan left more than 7,300 people dead or missing.

The Philippines experiences about 20 major storms a year, many of which are deadly, and which have been becoming fiercer in recent years.

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