MANILA, Dec. 29 (Xinhua) -- The death toll in the typhoon that barrelled through central Philippines beginning on Tuesday had climbed to 41, the government said on Sunday, adding that 12 more were reported missing.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said 13 died in Iloilo, three in Capiz, four in Aklan, one in Cebu, one in Southern Leyte, five in Leyte, one in Biliran, five in Eastern Samar and one in Samar provinces in central Philippines. It also reported that five others died in Oriental Mindoro and two in Occidental Mindoro in the Mimaropa region.
Police and local officials said most of the deaths were due to drowning, falling trees and accidental electrocution.
Typhoon Phanfone, which made landfall on Tuesday afternoon in Eastern Samar province, left a trail of destruction as it swept across the central Philippines and areas off the southern tip of the main Luzon island.
Huge flooding was reported in many affected provinces, according to the NDRRMC in a latest report.
Phanfone also stranded thousands of people in sea, land and airports at the peak of the holiday travel, literally dampening the Christmas spirit of Filipinos that wish to spend the holidays with their loved ones in the provinces.
The disaster agency said the typhoon has affected more than 1.6 million people in more than 2,000 villages in central Philippines and the northeastern tip of the southern Philippine Mindanao island.
Nearly 266,000 houses and 372 schoolhouses were damaged by the typhoon, the 21st typhoon to barrel the Philippines this year, the agency said.
The Philippines is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world mainly due to its location in the Pacific Ring of Fire and Pacific typhoon belt. Landslides and flash floods are common across the Philippines during rainy season, especially when typhoon hits.