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Typhoon Kammuri death toll hits 13 in Philippines

  • 5 Dec 2019

Kammuri's fierce winds toppled trees and flattened flimsy homes across a swathe of the nation's north and forced evacuation of thousands of residents and the cancellation of hundreds of flights.

A resident walks past debris from destroyed houses after Typhoon Kammuri hit the city of Sorsogon, south of Manila. ( Razvale Sayat / AFP )

The number of people killed by Typhoon Kammuri's pounding of the Philippines this week has hit 13, officials said on Thursday, as authorities confirmed reports of storm-related deaths.

Kammuri's fierce winds toppled trees and flattened flimsy homes across a swathe of the nation's north on Tuesday, and forced a rare 12-hour shutdown of Manila's international airport.

Authorities said on Wednesday one person had drowned while three died after being hit by trees and flying objects.

Disaster officials did not offer details on how the other victims died, but local police reports indicated some may have drowned or been crushed by trees.

Mark Timbal, spokesman for the national disaster agency, said no new bodies have been found but the death toll could rise as reports on the ground are verified.

"There is the possibility of an increase in the number, but we are hoping against it," Timbal told AFP.

Residents stand among their destroyed houses after Typhoon Kammuri hit Sorsogon Province in Philippines, December 3, 2019 in this picture obtained from Jinky A–onuevo Sesbre–o social media by Reuters.(Reuters)

Damage and destruction

Hundreds of thousands of people living in exposed or low-lying areas were evacuated from their homes before Kammuri made landfall late on Monday, which authorities said had saved lives.

Still, the storm damaged 135 schools and destroyed nearly 1,200 homes, with crop damage in the hardest hit areas estimated to reach nearly $16 million.

The Philippines is hit by an average of 20 storms and typhoons each year, killing hundreds and putting people in disaster-prone areas in a state of constant poverty.

President Rodrigo Duterte is scheduled to visit on Thursday the Bicol region, a peninsula south of Manila which was hit hard by the typhoon.

Ninoy Aquino International Airport was closed half of Tuesday as a precaution, affecting over 500 flights, while roughly half the day's programme at the Southeast Asian Games, hosted by Manila and nearby cities, had to be postponed.

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