At least 16 people dead due to Typhoon Ursula

JC Gotinga

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At least 16 people dead due to Typhoon Ursula
(4th UPDATE) The fatalities are from Iloilo, Capiz, Leyte, Southern Leyte, and Biliran, where the storm caused heavy floods and destruction

MANILA, Philippines (4th UPDATE) – At least 16 people were killed as Typhoon Ursula (Phanfone) barreled across the central islands of the Philippines on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, government officials said on Thursday, December 26.

The Western Visayas Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) reported 13 deaths due to the typhoon: 4 from Capiz and 9 from Iloilo.

The Office of Civil Defense reported 3 other deaths, one each from Malitbog municipality in Southern Leyte, Baybay City in Leyte, and Cabucgayan municipality in Biliran. The office said it was verifying other reported fatalities.

Another 6 people were reported missing in Western Visayas: 2 in Capiz and 4 in Iloilo.

The storm affected at least 569 families or 2,351 people in the Central Visayas and Caraga regions, of whom 425 families or 1,654 people have taken temporary shelter in evacuation centers, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported at 6 am on Thursday, citing a December 25 report from the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

The report did not yet include the number of affected people in other regions the typhoon passed: Eastern Visayas, Western Visayas, Mimaropa, Bicol, and Southern Luzon.

A separate report from the Western Visayas RDRRMC said at least 5,717 families or 21,956 people were affected by the typhoon in the Panay provinces.

In Cebu, the municipalities of Medellin and Daanbantayan declared a state of calamity after the typhoon’s onslaught. Apart from relief goods, the two local government units are also in need of rehabilitation aid for key structures.

Photos and videos posted on social media showed severe flooding and destruction in the different areas the typhoon hit. For instance, the storm submerged entire neighborhoods in Capiz province in Western Visayas, and destroyed villages in Tacloban City in Eastern Visayas.

Eighty-seven cities and municipalities in Eastern and Western Visayas lost power during the typhoon, the NDRRMC reported. Power has since been restored to 24 of those places, leaving 63 still without electricity as of 6 am Thursday.

Thirteen road sections in the two regions were affected by the typhoon, of which 7 remain impassable, the same report said.

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) identified a number of affected roads.

Portions of the Sigma-Mambusao-Jamindan Road and the Iloilo-Capiz Road were flooded, while felled trees and electricity poles blocked sections of the Tigbao-Pulak-Sta. Fe Road, and the Mainit-San Miguel-Santol Road in Leyte. 

Damage to the spillway of Binahaan Bridge caused the closure of a part of the Jaro-Dagami-Burauen-La Paz road in Leyte, and motorists were advised to take the Sta. Fe-Pastrana-Dagami road instead. 

In Eastern Samar, a section of the Borongan-Guiuan Road was closed due to flooding, while fallen power lines blocked a portion of the Calinapawan Road in Tacloban City.

The DPWH said work is underway to clear these roads

At least 15,786 passengers, 1,372 rolling cargoes, 41 vessels, and 26 motorbancas were stranded during the storm, the NDRRMC said, citing the Philippine Coast Guard.

Meanwhile, a total of 115 domestic flights were canceled, the Manila International Airport Authority reported, according to the NDRRMC.

Even before the typhoon first made landfall in Eastern Samar on December 24, at least 12,364 families or 58,400 people were evacuated in Mimaropa, Bicol, and  Eastern and Central Visayas, the NDRRMC reported.

Typhoon Ursula has exited the Philippine landmass, and is expected to exit the Philippine Area of Responsibility on Saturday morning, December 28. –

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JC Gotinga

JC Gotinga often reports about the West Philippine Sea, the communist insurgency, and terrorism as he covers national defense and security for Rappler. He enjoys telling stories about his hometown, Pasig City. JC has worked with Al Jazeera, CNN Philippines, News5, and CBN Asia.