Leyte, Capiz declare state of calamity after 16 killed as 'Ursula' leaves trail of destruction in parts of PH

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 26) — The death toll from Typhoon Ursula (international name: Phanfone) in central Philippines, has climbed to 16 as of Thursday, the regional disaster reponse officials reported.

Of the total fatalities, 13 were from Western Visayas including nine from Iloilo and four in Capiz, according to the Office of Civil Defense in Region 6.

In Eastern Visayas, three died including one in Malitbog in Southern Leyte and another in Baybay City in Leyte who were both electrecuted, and one from Cabucgayan in Biliran who was hit by a mango tree branch, OCD Region 8 reported.

Six others were also reportedly missing including two from Pontevedra in Capiz, three from Batad, Iloilo and one from Passi, Iloilo.

CNN Philippines earlier reported 21 fatalities but five of them — reported by local officials — have not yet been included in the OCD's official tally.

The provincial councils of Leyte and Capiz, meanwhile, put their entire provinces under a state of calamity Thursday due to the effect of the typhoon.

The Eastern Samar Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council also passed a resolution recommending that the province be put under a state of calamity due to Ursula. OIC Governor Maricar Goteesan has requested the Sangguniang Panlalawigan to convene Friday for a special session to decide what next steps to take.

Local governments also recorded deaths in the aftermath of Ursula that the OCD has not yet included in it's official tally.

Among them, four fatalities from Eastern Samar, where Ursula first hit land on December 24, Nelson Cortez, Eastern Samar provincial administrator told CNN Philippines’ New Day. Governor Leopoldo Petilla reported another fatality from Abuyog, Leyte on December 25.

Of the fatalities in Eastern Samar, three were in Guiuan and one in Balangkayan.

The victim from Balangkayan, a 70-year-old man, drowned from storm surge while the others may have died after getting hit by a roof and suffering from heart attack as a consequence of the typhoon, Cortez said, citing initial reports.

However, Eastern Samar Governor Ben Evardone only confirmed two deaths due to Ursula from Guiuan and Balangkayan.

Four fishermen were also reported missing after they ventured into the sea, Cortez added.

The official also said that some residents who sought temporary shelters in evacuation centers have also begun returning to their houses Wednesday, Christmas Day as the weather improved.

Ursula ruins holidays of thousands of residents, travelers

Ursula left trails of destruction on its path particularly in southern Luzon and Eastern Visayas as evidenced by fallen trees, electrical posts which triggered power outages, and damaged an airport.

As of 6 a.m. Thursday, the Philippine Coast Guard recorded a total of 15,786 stranded passengers in Bicol, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, CALABARZON, Northern Mindanao, Western Visayas and southern Visayas.

More than 1,600 people from regions of Central Visayas and CARAGA are still in evacuation centers, disaster response officials said in their 6 a.m. report on Thursday.

In Oriental Mindoro, where the typhoon made its seventh landfall, a tornado tore through six houses and injured one person in Calapan City on Christmas Day.

Meanwhile, Occidental Mindoro reported widespread damage in crops and structures.

“Grabe po ang dinalang pinsala ni Ursula,” Nelson Cortez, Eastern Samar provincial administrator said over CNN Philippines’ New Day.

Municipalities of Magsaysay, San Jose, Rizal and Calintaan were hit the hardest by Ursula, Cortez added.

Aside from Eastern Samar and Mindoro provinces, heavy rains and strong gusts caused by Ursula also hammered Tacloban City the entire Christmas Eve.

The rains stopped early midnight and Tacloban residents started clearing the roads of debris by sunrise.

However, there was no Christmas celebration in Tacloban's coastal village of Anibong, where the typhoon destroyed a hundred houses.

But recovery has begun in the city. Shopping centers and fast food chains already opened on December 25.

No electricity, canceled flights in Aklan

Authorities said Thursday that as of 9 a.m., there is no power in the entire province of Aklan, and restoration of tripped transmission lines will be done once the weather improves.

Kalibo Airport was also damaged, which prompted flight cacellations on Thursday and Friday, however the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) said the airport will be able to resume domestic operations by 5 p.m. allowing airlines to mount recovery flights for passengers.

Meanwhile, here is the list of canceled flights on December 26 and 27:

Cebu Pacific

December 26, 2019

5J412 Cebu-Kalibo

5J413 Kalibo-Cebu

5J1811 Cebu-Kalibo

5J419 Kalibo-Cebu

December 27, 2019

5J180 Kalibo-Incheon

5J181 Incheon-Kalibo


DG6315 Manila-Kalibo

DG6316 Kalibo-Manila

DG6313 Manila-Kalibo

DG6314 Kalibo-Manila

DG6317 Manila-Kalibo

DG6318 Kalibo-Manila

The CAAP said, however, international airport operations for Thursday are suspended.

Other airport advisories:

Roxas airport - Aerodome services suspended from December 26 to January 2020. The airport will only be open for day operations in the meantime.

San Jose airport - Flight operations will resume on December 28

On Wednesday and Thursday, the typhoon made landfall seven times – in Salcedo, Eastern Samar; Tacloban City, Leyte; Cabucgayan, Biliran; Gigantes Islands in Carles, Iloilo; Ibajay, Aklan; Semirara Island in Caluya, Antique and Bulalacao, Oriental Mindoro.