Typhoon Utor thundered out of the Philippines leaving six feared dead and thousands stranded on Monday after high winds and waves tore up power lines and communication links in the archipelago.
Utor, a category 2 typhoon with gusts of up to 150 kph (90 mph), was forecast to strengthen to a category 4 typhoon by Tuesday on a path that currently skirts south of the Chinese island of Hainan later this week, according to www.tropicalstormrisk.com.
The National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) said two people were confirmed dead, including a one-year-old girl whose house was pinned by a fallen tree in central Capiz province. Three others were feared drowned.
On the resort island of Boracay, the famous white sands were littered with debris after high winds tore up roofs and trees.
“Some people are crying because they are afraid and in shock,” said Roselle Gallano, a waitress at a coffee shop close to the beach front. “Many houses were damaged, some have been tilted.”
The governor of nearby Aklan province said one person had been killed on Boracay and at least four were still missing.
Authorities evacuated more than 90,000 residents, most of them in Albay province, where more than 1,000 people are feared dead after Typhoon Durian wiped out villages in a torrent of landslides and flash flooding in late November.
Utor, the fifth typhoon to hit the Philippines since September, did not directly hit Albay but the bereaved remain stuck in schools and makeshift shelters and the province is still without power.
On Friday, the Philippines hastily postponed an annual summit of 16 Asian leaders until January, citing concerns the typhoon could wreak havoc at the venue on the central island of Cebu. Utor subsequently swept north of Cebu.
The NDCC said the typhoon had stranded 16,300 passengers in ports as interisland ferries stopped operations due to rough seas. Electricity was knocked out in wide areas in the Visayas region.
Storms regularly hit the Philippines. In one of the worst disasters in recent years, more than 5,000 people died on the central island of Leyte in 1991 in floods triggered by a typhoon.