Philippine storm death toll rises to 11

The death toll from a tropical storm that hit the central Philippines on Christmas Day has risen to 11 with thousands more forced out of their homes by landslides and flooding, officials said on Friday.

Tropical Storm Wukong has caused new destruction just weeks after Typhoon Bopha hit the south of the country, flattening whole communities and killing more than 1,000 people.

Most of Wukong's victims died from drowning, while three died when a tree fell onto their home, according to the official disaster monitoring council, which added that two people remained missing.

It said that more than 13,000 people were in evacuation centres due to flooding and landslides caused by the latest storm, which affected the islands of Samar, Leyte Cebu and Panay.

But regional disaster officer Celeste Milan expressed confidence the death toll would not rise much higher as people had taken precautions, with some having evacuated their homes before the storm hit.

"It won't be like Bopha. This was more just rain. Bopha was a super typhoon. This (Wukong) was just a tropical depression," Milan said.

Wukong weakened as it blew out westward to the South China Sea.

Relief efforts are still ongoing in areas of the southern Philippines where whole towns were wiped out by Bopha, the strongest typhoon to hit the country this year.

The Philippines is hit by about 20 major storms or typhoons each year that occur mainly during the rainy season between June and October.

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