Philippines reports at least eight deaths as rains, floods disrupt Christmas celebrations

Listen to this article:

A rescuer helps people affected by floods in Gingoog city, Philippines December 25, 2022 in this screen grab obtained from a social media video. Philippine Red Cross/TWITTER@PHILREDCROSS/via REUTERS

MANILA (Reuters) – Philippine authorities on Monday reported at least eight deaths mostly due to floods triggered by heavy rains in the southern provinces, as Christmas celebrations were disrupted for thousands of residents who were forced to evacuate.

Images on social media showed rescue workers helping residents out of chest-deep flood waters caused by two days of moderate to heavy rainfall in central and southern Philippines.

In its latest bulletin, the national disaster agency reported eight casualties, five of whom died from drowning, while 19 were missing. Of the eight deaths, six were in the mountainous and coastal Misamis Occidental province.

Nearly 46,000 people were sheltering in evacuation centres, data from the social welfare ministry showed on Monday.

“We need food. Our house and animals were carried away by floods,” Estela Talaruc, a Misamis Occidental resident, told DZRH radio station. “Nothing was left, not even clothes.”

The Philippines, an archipelago of more than 7,600 islands, sees an average of 20 tropical storms annually. The Southeast Asian nation is also hit by adverse weather conditions like monsoon rains that cause deadly landslides and floods, and damage crops.