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At least 2 dead, hundreds flee floods due to Tropical Depression Vicky

At least two people were killed and hundreds forced to flee their inundated homes in the Philippines as torrential rain caused by Tropical Depression Vicky triggered flooding and landslides in the storm-battered archipelago, officials said on Saturday, December 19. 

Huge waves smashed into a coastal village on Lapu-Lapu island in the central province of Cebu on Friday night, wiping out dozens of houses and leaving around 290 people homeless, Mayor Junard Chan said on Facebook.

Photos posted online by the mayor showed piles of wood and bamboo near the few houses still standing after the region was drenched by heavy rain.

Rescuers retrieved the bodies of two elderly women who were killed when a landslide hit an area of Mahaplag town before dawn in the nearby province of Leyte, police officer Racquel Hernandez said.

A boy was also pulled from the rubble of his home and treated for his injuries, Hernandez told Agence France-Presse.

Meanwhile, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) has so far released one situation report on Tropical Depression Vicky. The report contained no information about casualties.

The NDRRMC, a national agency, verifies and consolidates reports of casualties from local governments and other sources on the ground. As a result, it tends to be slower in releasing casualty counts from disasters.

The agency said Vicky has affected some 1,525 people in 13 barangays in the Northern Mindanao, Davao, and Caraga regions, as of 8 am Saturday.

At least 9 incidents of flooding and 1 landslide were reported in the Caraga region.

The Philippines is hit by an average of 20 storms and typhoons every year, which typically wipe out harvests, homes and infrastructure in already impoverished areas.

The latest storm comes after a succession of typhoons in recent months pummeled the country, taking the lives 148 people, destroying hundreds of thousands of houses, wrecking cash crops and leaving swathes of the country without power. – with reports from JC Gotinga/Rappler.com