Usman's wrath kills 3, leaves thousands stranded ahead of New Year

Saul Bowman
January 2, 2019

A tropical depression that hit the country last week has left at least 75 people dead and affected over 45,000 families, disaster risk reduction officials said on Tuesday.

Usman brought heavy rains that caused floods and loosened the soil, triggering landslides in some areas.

In Bicol, the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) said 15 of the 50 reported deaths were in Albay province, 16 in Camarines Sur, seven in Masbate, six in Sorsogon and six in Camarines Norte.

"The deaths were mostly due to landslides", Posadas added.

"Most of the affected areas are underwater".

Six people were drowned or were buried in landslides in the two provinces in the Eastern Visayas region, police said.

Almost 25,000 people were displaced by the landslides and floods in 13 provinces, according to the agency.

Thousands of passengers were stranded at seaports, airports and bus terminals as dozens of inter-island trips were cancelled.

Three people drowned in floods in Eastern Samar and the adjacent province of Western Samar, the regional civil defence office said.

"Usman" eventually weakened into a low pressure area after it hit land in Eastern Samar Saturday morning.

At least 22 people died from a storm that swept through the central Philippine islands at the weekend, authorities said Sunday, with rescue operations under way in flood inundated communities.

A cold front and the northeast monsoon were also bringing bad weather over the capital, Manila, and other parts of the country, which could dampen usually rowdy New Year's Eve celebrations.

An average of 20 typhoons and storms lash the Philippines each year, killing hundreds of people and leaving millions in near perpetual poverty.

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