Typhoon Phanfone: Philippine death toll rises to 28

Media captionResidents start to clean up after deadly storm hits central Philippines

The number of people killed by a typhoon that battered the Philippines over the Christmas period has risen to 28, say officials.

Typhoon Phanfone, which made landfall on Tuesday, caused severe floods and destroyed homes in several provinces.

According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council, 12 people remain missing.

The typhoon led to the evacuation of more than 58,000 people and stranded thousands over the holiday period.

Officials said some of the dead were hit by trees, while others were electrocuted or drowned.

“The likelihood is present that the casualty count will still increase. We’re hoping against it,” disaster agency spokesman Mark Timbal told news agency AFP.

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Rescue workers are now carrying out operations

Phanfone struck close to regions hit by Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, which killed more than 6,000 people – making it the Philippines’ deadliest storm.

Typhoon Phanfone, known locally as Typhoon Ursula, made its way through many islands of central Philippines on 25 December.

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It reached winds of 200kmph (125 miles per hour), leaving thousands stranded as they tried to make their way home for Christmas.

Western parts of Visayas, the central of the three main island groups that make up the Philippines, were among the worst affected. In lloilo province, at least 13 people died.

According to news site Rappler, six people from the same family were killed while visiting the town of Batad for a family funeral.

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The province of Iloilo was among the worst hit

The popular tourist island of Boracay was also damaged by the typhoon, with homes destroyed and mobile phone and internet access cut off.

“Communication lines are down. Electricity is still down,” Jonathan Pablito, a police chief in Alkan province, an island neighbouring Boracay, told agency AFP on Thursday.

Tacloban, a low-lying that was destroyed by Typhoon Haiyan, was also among those affected. However, the city escaped the worst of the damage this time round.

The typhoon is said to have eased in strength on Thursday and has headed towards the South China Sea.