Twenty-eight people have been confirmed killed by Typhoon Phanfone (local name Ursula) since it made landfall in Eastern Samar on Christmas Eve, while 12 people still remain missing in three regions in Visayas Islands, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported today.
Based on NDRRMC’s 6am report, Western Visayas suffered the most fatalities, with 19 people killed in Iloilo, Capiz, and Aklan. Eastern Visayas, where Phanfone first made landfall, had a total of eight deaths in the provinces of Biliran, Leyte, and Southern Leyte, as well as in Samar and Eastern Samar. Cebu, in Central Visayas, suffered one death. Two were reportedly injured in Iloilo, and 12 remain missing in Central and Eastern Visayas.
“The likelihood is present that the casualty count will still increase. We’re hoping against it,” NDRRMC spokesman Mark Timbal told AFP.
Meanwhile, in the Southern Luzon province of Mindoro, Mayor Romulo Festin declared San Jose town to be under a state of calamity yesterday after the typhoon leveled several houses and caused widespread power outages. Festin says the declaration of state of calamity will allow the town to tap into emergency funds and impose a price freeze on basic goods, ABS-CBN News reports.
Mindoro Governor Eduardo Gadiano told DZMM this morning that it may take up to 15 days before power is restored in the province, and that they will need the help of electric cooperatives from neighboring provinces. Gadiano noted that far too many electric posts fell over and were destroyed by the typhoon, “even the steel ones,” he said.
Phanfone was spotted at 3am today over Subic, in Zambales, moving northwest with maximum sustained winds of 120kph and gusts of up to 150kph.
The typhoon is expected to leave the country by Saturday morning. Phanfone is the 21st, and likely the last, tropical cyclone to hit the Philippines this year, as the state weather bureau today is forecasting fair weather for New Year’s Eve.