Two were killed and thousands fled as another tropical depression, Agaton, lashed the central Philippines today (Tuesday, January 2).
The arrival of Agaton follows back-to-back storms 0ver the Christmas season. It dumped heavy rains in the provinces of Cebu, Bohol, Leyte, Southern Leyte, Eastern Samar and Northern Samar.
The deaths were both reported on Cebu island.
Flora Basadre, aged 64, was sleeping inside her house in Malabuyoc town when it was inundated by a landslide.
Julius Regner, Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office in Cebu identified the second victim as a 39-year-old man. He died of head injuries after he jumped through a window
“He jumped off the window in panic,” Mr Regner said. “His neighbours were shouting at him that there was a brownout, but he didn’t hear them.”
Landslides were also reported in the towns of Alegria and Ginatilan while flooding affected Carcar, Sibonga, Dumanjog, Barili and Boljoon.
In Eastern Visayas, 3,583 passengers were stranded after the Coast Guard barred 23 vessels from sailing.
Also affected were 129 buses and cargo trucks that were heading for Luzon and Mindanao from the ports of Southern Leyte, Leyte and in Northern Samar.
Meanwhile, in Bohol, 25 families evacuated their homes yesterday morning after the Loboc River broke its banks.
By this morning, water levels in parts of the town had risen waist-high, making many streets impassable.
About 4,000 people across the central Philippines had moved to safer ground to escape high winds and flooding, the national disaster agency in Manila said.
“There is continuous flooding in some towns where the floodwater from the previous storm has yet to subside,” provincial disaster information officer Julius Regner told AFP by telephone from Cebu City.
Last month, Tropical Storm Urduja (international name Kai-Tak) killed 47 people. This was followed Tropical Storm Vinta (or Tembin) which caused 240 deaths on Mindanao.
State weather service Pagasa has warned that the new disturbance was poised to hit Palawan with gusts of 40 miles per hour later.
Speaking to AFP, the island’s information officer said: “The residents are really sad. It is tough that we have three storms coming one after another. People have lost their livelihood and have had no rest since Christmas.”
Palawan accounted for 37 of the recorded Tembin deaths, with 60 other people still missing.
The Philippines is battered by an average of 20 major storms each year, many of them catastrophic.
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