Typhoon Phanfone smashed into the central Philippines on Dec 24th, leaving thousands of people unable to get home for the Christmas holidays. The Christmas typhoon also forced many people to evacuate in the face of the onslaught.
The tropical storm was upgraded to a typhoon shortly before it made landfall on Christmas Eve. Early reports indicate there had been no casualties so far.
The typhoon struck the southern tip of the impoverished island of Samar in the afternoon. With winds up to 150 kilometres an hour. The winds snapped branches and knocked down power poles and mobile phone relay towers.
The state weather service said homes made of wood, straw or bamboo risked “heavy damage”. However so far there were no reports of giant waves crashing onto coastal communities. The state weather service had earlier warned citizens of possible waves.
Phanfone, Laotian for “animal”, was forecast to cut across the central islands on Christmas Day, Asiaone reported.
Meanwhile, more than 23,000 ferry passengers trying to get home for the Christmas holidays have been stranded at ports. All shipping shut down, by the coast guard said Tuesday.
The state weather service said Phanfone would bring moderate to strong winds over the capital Manila on Christmas Day. The Philippines is the first major landmass facing the Pacific cyclone belt.
As such, the Philippines gets hit by an average of 20 storms and typhoons each year.