Typhoon Phanfone: Philippines counts cost of deadly storm

At least 10 people have died after a powerful typhoon hit the central Philippines on Christmas Day, with the death toll likely to rise.Typhoon Phanfone, also known as Ursula, carried gusts of close to 190km/h (118 mph) and made landfall several times across various islands, officials say.
Tens of thousands of people were left stranded in ports as they tried to make their way home for Christmas.
Phanfone struck close to regions devastated by Typhoon Haiyan in 2013.
More than 6,000 people were killed in November that year, making it the Philippines’ deadliest storm.
With winds of more than 310km/h, it was the most powerful storm to ever make landfall.
Typhoon Phanfone began making landfall on Tuesday night, but continued to pass over the many islands of the central Philippines throughout Christmas Day. But the extent of the damage began to emerge only on Thursday.
Local media say at least 10 people had died – including a three-year-old boy – with most deaths occurring in Iloilo and Capiz provinces.
But Agence France-Presse, citing disaster agency officials, said at least 16 people had died.
The Philippines’ ABS-CBN network said that one family died when they were swept away by a flash flood as they attempted to get to higher ground. It added that at least 12 people were missing in Iloilo province alone.
The popular tourist island of Boracay appears to have suffered damage, although the extent is unclear.
Korean tourist Jung Byung-joon told AFP that the airport at Kalibo, which services Boracay, was badly damaged.
“Roads remain blocked, but some efforts have been made to clear away the damage,” he said. “It’s pretty bad.”
In the city of Tacloban, a large fire broke out as the winds rose, but the city escaped the worst of the damage.
Tacloban suffered enormous damage during Typhoon Haiyan when a storm surge pushed water into the low-lying city of more than 220,000 people.
According to an update by the Philippines weather service at 11:00 local time (03:00 GMT) on Thursday, Phanfone had passed over the most populated islands and was heading out towards the South China Sea. – BBC News