Emergency crews in Philippines are racing against time to find 26 people missing after heavy rains, floods and landslides on Christmas weekend wrought havoc in one of the worst weather disasters this year.
The death toll from the deluge has climbed to 25 people from 17 the previous day with most deaths caused by drowning in flash floods, according to latest report from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).
At least nine people have been injured in various rain related incidents and nearly 400,000 people were affected, it added.
Christmas celebrations for thousands of Filipinos were disrupted after heavy downpour triggered floods and landslides like never before. The nation, that usually sees 20 typhoons and tropical storms each year, was this time battered by heavy rains.
Diego Agustin Mariano, head of the Office of Civil Defense Joint Information Center, said most of the missing people are fishermen and “search and rescue operations continue, led by the coast guard”.
Of the 25 deaths so far, 16 were reported in Northern Mindanao region in the south and 12 in the eastern Bicol region.
The country is now preparing for more moderate to heavy rains within the next 24 hours in low pressure area detected about 600km east of Mindanao island in the south.
Filipinos in and around the region have been asked to brace for more floods and landslide following the rains.
The latest weather disaster has cause widespread infrastructural damage in the country, causing power outages in at least 20 area and cut water supply in three regions.
The disaster management council said 1,196 houses were damaged by the floods, while sections of 123 roads and 12 bridges were affected.
More than 300 areas have been flooded and 20 landslides were recorded, forcing 80,000 people to take shelter in evacuation centres.
It comes as concerns are being raised over rising Covid cases from China. Philippine transportation secretary Jaime Bautista said the country should “very cautious” when receiving inbound travelers from China and it could impose testing requirements on visitors from the country.