Death toll from Philippine storm, landslides climbs to 126

The death toll from a storm that devastated the Philippines shortly after Christmas rose to 126, authorities said on Sunday, adding landslides caused by torrential rain were the top cause.

The storm hit central and eastern Philippine islands on December 29 and caused massive flooding and landslides. More than 100 people died in the mountainous Bicol region southeast of Manila, regional disaster officials said.

While the Bicol region is often hit by deadly typhoons, many people failed to take necessary precautions because the storm was not strong enough to be rated as a typhoon under the government's storm alert system, according to civil defence officials.

Officials also said that many residents were reluctant to leave their homes during the Christmas holidays.

"In two days alone, Usman poured more than a month's worth of rainfall in the Bicol region," said national disaster agency spokesperson Edgar Posadas, using the local name for the storm which had weakened into a low pressure area.

"Our search and retrieval operations are ongoing but the sticky mud and the unstable soil are a challenge."

The death toll was likely to climb further with 26 people still missing, Posadas added.

More than 152 000 people were displaced by the storm and 75 were injured, according to the national disaster agency.

President Rodrigo Duterte visited the storm-hit areas on Friday and urged officials to build evacuation centres instead of using schools as shelters for the displaced.

About 20 typhoons and storms batter the Philippines each year, killing hundreds of people.

The deadliest in recent years was Super Typhoon Haiyan which left more than 7 360 people dead or missing across the central Philippines in 2013.

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news by subscribing to our FREE newsletter.

- FOLLOW News24 on Twitter

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
As South Africa faces down the third Covid-19 wave, how are you keeping your family safe ?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Staying at home, isolating and being careful
15% - 20 votes
Sanitising and wearing masks when we go out
73% - 99 votes
Going on as usual, we're not afraid of the virus
13% - 17 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
14.13
-0.0%
Rand - Pound
19.87
-0.1%
Rand - Euro
17.11
-0.4%
Rand - Aus dollar
10.93
-0.3%
Rand - Yen
0.13
-0.3%
Gold
1,833.68
+0.4%
Silver
27.15
+0.2%
Palladium
2,902.49
+1.3%
Platinum
1,226.94
+1.4%
Brent Crude
67.05
-3.3%
Top 40
60,387
+0.3%
All Share
66,411
+0.4%
Resource 10
68,899
-0.8%
Industrial 25
83,232
+0.9%
Financial 15
12,681
+1.5%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo