The Philippines is still counting its death toll from a powerful typhoon that lashed over the country over Christmas. It has risen to 47, with another nine people still missing, authorities said at press time.
Typhoon Phanfone, known locally as Ursula, made landfall in Eastern Samar province on Dec. 24, bringing heavy rain and storm surges. It hit as the equivalent of a Category 1 hurricane, packing sustained wind speeds of 150 kilometres (93 miles) per hour, with gusts of 195 kph (121 mph).
It then swept west across the islands of the Eastern Visayas region, southern Luzon and Western Visayas on Christmas Day, causing widespread travel disruption over the busy festive period in a majority Catholic region. Images from the area showed debris blocking roads, downed lamp posts, crumpled houses and people huddling in evacuation centres.
In total nearly two million people were affected, more than 378,000 houses were damaged, and 143 people were injured, the Philippine National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said.
The typhoon caused about $21.3 million in damage to infrastructure and agriculture.
Some tourist areas, including the popular resort island of Boracay, were also damaged. The nearby Kalibo International Airport was temporarily closed, and flights cancelled after the typhoon damaged the roof of the terminal building, according to an advisory from Philippine Airlines.
A total of 116 domestic flights and three international flights were cancelled due to the storm, but operations in the region have resumed as normal.
The Philippines gets hit by more typhoons than any other country, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration.
A month ago, Typhoon Kammuri, the twentieth to hit the country in 2019, killed 13 people and damaged more than 8,000 houses.
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