Typhoon death toll rises to 11 in Philippines

Source: Xinhua| 2019-12-04 13:46:32|Editor: Liu
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MANILA, Dec. 4 (Xinhua) -- At least 11 people have died in typhoon that unleashed torrents of rain and strong winds since Monday, leaving a trail of destruction in the provinces in southern Luzon and central Philippine Samar province, police said on Wednesday.

Typhoon Kammuri weakened into severe tropical storm early Wednesday, according to the state weather bureau Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).

In its 4 a.m. local time bulletin, PAGASA said Kammuri continues to move west northwest at 20 km per hour (kph) as it heads to the South China Sea.

PAGASA said Kammuri, packing 100 kph winds and gusts of up to 125 kph, was spotted 255 kilometers west of Ambulong town in Batangas province.

Police said 11 died from the typhoon - three in Camarines Sur province, two in Sorsogon Province, four in Oriental Mindoro Province, one in Marinduque Province and one in Leyte Province.

The causes of the dead were electrocution, pinned to death by fallen trees or branches and heart attack, police said.

Defense Undersecretary Ricardo Jalad, who is also the executive director of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), said Kammuri affected nearly 500,000 people from Central Luzon, Bicol region, Eastern Visayas and the Southwestern Tagalog region.

The NDRRMC, which is generally more conservative in assessing its numbers, has yet to issue the number of typhoon casualties.

Jalad said Kammuri damaged at least 38 houses in the affected regions, caused flooding in eight areas and cut the power supply in 203 areas.

"A total of 18 road sections and three bridges were reported affected by Kammuri. Of which, 12 road sections and three bridges are still not passable," Jalad said.

Moreover, he reported that 329 domestic flights and 192 international flights were cancelled after the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Authority shut down the airport operations for 12 hours, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. local time on Tuesday in anticipation of Kammuri.

Jalad said a total of 3,330 sea passengers, 789 rolling cargoes, 28 vessels and 34 ferry boats were stranded by the typhoon.

Classes and work were suspended in 865 towns and 231 cities due to the threat posed by the typhoons, Jalad added.

Kammuri is the 20th typhoon battering the Philippines this year.

On average, this archipelago country experiences 20 typhoons every year, some of which are intense and truly devastating.

Landslides and flash floods are common across the Philippines during rainy season, especially when typhoon hits.

A total of 6,300 people died from storm surge when super typhoon Haiyan barrelled the central Philippines in November 2013. The World Bank said Haiyan caused an estimated 12.9 billion U.S. dollars in damages, or about 4.7 percent of the Philippines' gross domestic product.