Philippine flood death toll rises to 25 as tens of thousands flee homes

Rural villages and towns were partially submerged on Christmas Day

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As storms continue to batter the Philippines, the number of people killed during flooding caused by heavy rain has risen to 25, officials said on Wednesday.

More rain is expected to be dumped over the hardest-hit southern and central regions in the coming days.

Tens of thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes after rural villages and towns were partially submerged while some motorways were completely covered on Christmas Day in the mainly Catholic nation.

About 400,000 people have been affected while nine people have been injured, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said.

Moderate to heavy rain is expected across the country's southern and central regions on Wednesday and Thursday due to a low-pressure area off the coast that could develop into a tropical depression, said the state weather forecaster.

“Flooding and rain-induced landslides are likely, especially in areas that are highly or very highly susceptible to these hazards,” the weather bureau said.

A rescue worker helps a resident to cross a flooded street on Christmas Day in Gingoog city, the Philippines. EPA

The disaster agency said relief efforts were under way to help people in areas hit hard by the flooding, as more than 81,000 people took shelter in evacuation centres.

Officials are expected to conduct aerial surveillance over Misamis Occidental on Wednesday to assess the extent of the damage.

Heavy rains hit the disaster-prone nation of 110 million people at the weekend as it prepared for a long Christmas holiday.

The Philippines is one of the world's most vulnerable nations to the effects of climate change, and scientists have issued warnings that storms are becoming more powerful as the world becomes warmer.

Updated: December 28, 2022, 3:22 PM