Christmas typhoon leaves four dead in Philippines
LIGAO, PhilippinesA powerful typhoon left at least four people dead and eight missing as it crossed the Philippine archipelago on Dec. 26, spoiling the Christmas holidays with strong winds, heavy rains and destructive flooding.
Nock-Ten made landfall on the eastern island province of Catanduanes with gusts of 235 kilometers (146 miles) an hour on Christmas Day, ravaging the Bicol region and surrounding areas before moving west across the country.
A couple perished in a flood while an elderly man was crushed to death by a falling wall, the governor of Albay province, Al Bichara, told local media.
Another person was killed and two more were injured when the storm toppled a power line in Quezon province, electrocuting them, a police report said.
An anchored ferry went down off the coastal province of Batangas on Dec. 26 with eight crewmen still missing, said coast guard officer Joy Villegas.
Two people also died after suffering heart attacks during the storm but it was unclear if those deaths were directly related to the typhoon, local government reports said.
More than 383,000 people were forced to flee their homes while over 80 domestic and international flights were cancelled due to the storm, the civil defense office said.
The coast guard on Dec. 25 ordered beaches south of Manila to be cleared of holidaymakers by Dec. 26.
The unusually late storm cut off electricity to millions and forced government agencies to order evacuations of whole communities in Bicol, marring the traditional Christmas celebrations in this largely Christian nation.
In the Bicol town of Ligao, many streets and surrounding farms were covered by ankle-deep water while some homes remained caked in mud left by flooding.
Masseuse Erna Angela Pintor, 20, said she and her family spent a sleepless Christmas in fear as the strong winds ripped off part of their roof.