'Usman' death toll rises to 75

Officials expect the death toll to rise.

At least 56 people have been reported killed by landslides and floods caused by tropical depression Usman, which has swept through the central Philippines and displaced thousands of families.

At least 16 power stations in Bicol, Western Visayas and Eastern Visayas experienced temporary shutdowns due to stormy weather, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said in a situation report.

Fifty-seven people died in the mountainous Bicol region, southeast of Manila, while 11 were killed in the central island of Samar, mostly due to landslides and drownings, the officials said.

Most of the victims died in landslides, including a family of three who were sleeping when their house was buried in Legazpi City in Albay province, 336 kilometres south-east of Manila, police said.

Two landslides were reported in Camarines Sur, where bodies have been recovered.

Although Usman has since moved westward away from the country, many affected areas were still experiencing seasonal rains, hampering rescue and recovery efforts, he added.

Thousands of others were stranded at seaports, airports and bus terminals following the cancelation of dozens of inter-island trips.

Disaster agency spokesman Edgar Posadas said the winds from Usman were "not strong", but their effects had left widespread devastation.

Rice fields in Polangui, Albay were submerged and destroyed by heavy rains, while floods in the town of Lope de Vega in Northern Samar reached up to 20 feet.

The weather condition is expected to improve starting December 31, New Year's Eve, when the LPA is forecast to exit the Philippine area of responsibility.

  • Tracy Klein