Six dead as Typhoon Nock-Ten wreaks havoc in Philippines
A powerful typhoon blew out of the northern Philippines on Monday after killing at least six people on Christmas Day and forcing more than 380,000 others to abandon celebrations at home to find safe shelter.
Typhoon Nock-Ten cut power to five entire provinces due to toppled electric posts and trees, dimming Christmas revelries in Asia's largest Catholic nation. More than 300 flights were delayed or re-scheduled and ferries were barred from sailing, stranding more than 12,000 holiday travellers.
Six people died from drowning or by being pinned by fallen trees, poles and a collapsed concrete wall in the provinces of Quezon and Albay, south-east of Manila, after the typhoon made landfall in Catanduanes province on Sunday night, officials said.
Many military camps and outposts in Catanduanes and outlying provinces were damaged and some troops were injured, the military said.
Nock-Ten, locally known as Nina, then blew westward across mountainous and island provinces, damaging homes, uprooting trees and knocking down communications.
After weakening on landfall, the typhoon had sustained winds of up to 120 kilometers (74 miles) per hour and gusts of 180 kph (111 mph) when it blew into the South China Sea after battering the congested provinces of Batangas and Cavite, south of Manila, government forecasters said.
A cargo ship with about two dozen crewmen radioed for help as their vessel started to list off Batangas. It later ran aground and turned on its sided in Mabini town, the coast guard said.
The storm was one of the strongest to hit the Philippines since Typhoon Haiyan left more than 7,300 people dead or missing and displaced over five million in 2014. But officials in some provinces found it difficult to convince people to abandon their Christmas celebrations and head for the shelters before the storm hit. Some officials said they had to impose forced evacuations.
About 20 typhoons and storms lash the Philippines each year. In the past 65 years, seven typhoons have struck the country on Christmas Day, according to the government's weather agency.