The storm-battered several islands with gusts of 190km/h, destroying homes and power lines and spoiled Christmas celebrations in the predominantly Catholic country. It forced thousands to flee their homes and many people are still missing. Thousands were left stranded as they tried to make their way home for Christmas.
Typhoon Phanfone first made landfall on Tuesday night but continued to pass over the many islands of the central Philippines throughout Christmas Day.
One disaster response officer said, more than 58,000 people were evacuated ahead of the storm and about 25,000 others were stranded at ports when ferries services were suspended. The extent of the damage began to emerge only today. Most deaths occurred in Iloilo and Capiz provinces.
About 20 typhoons and storms batter the Philippines each year. The Southeast Asian nation is also located in the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” where earthquakes and volcanic eruptions often occur, making the country of more than 100 million people one of the world’s most disaster-prone.