MANILA: Tropical Storm Wukong left five people dead and three missing as it cut through the central Philippines, following devastating Typhoon Bopha that killed hundreds earlier this month, officials said Thursday.
The toll from the latest storm was relatively low as the public, alarmed by the huge number of fatalities left by Bopha, were quick to take precautionary measures, regional civil defence officer Maria Nogra told AFP.
“It's the awareness of the people regarding disasters. They were prepared. They had pre-emptive evacuations before the storm struck. They saw what happened (with Bopha),” she said.
Three people were killed when a tree fell on their home in the central island of Samar while most of the other dead and missing were washed away by overflowing rivers, Nogra added.
Wukong hit the central islands on Christmas Day, bringing strong winds and rains but gradually weakening as it moved across the region. On Thursday the storm was expected to hit the tip of the westernmost island of Palawan.
While Wukong was not as strong as the typhoon, over 6,000 people still huddled in evacuation centres and many roads and bridges were rendered impassable, said Nogra.
Floods and landslides unleashed by Bopha, which hit on December 4 and was the strongest storm to batter the disaster-prone country this year, killed more than 1,000 people and hundreds more remain missing, according to officials.
Relief efforts are still going on in areas in the southern Philippines ravaged by Bopha, with entire towns wiped out by flashfloods.
The Philippines is hit by about 20 major storms or typhoons each year that occur mainly during the rainy season between June and October.