Typhoon Ursula (international name: Phanfone) on Wednesday, December 25, swept across the villages and towns in the Visayas, ruining the holiday mood and taking the lives of more than a dozen people.
Typhoon Ursula made landfall in the eastern province of Samar and packed maximum sustained winds of 120 km per hour (75 miles per hour) with gusts up to 150 kph.
According to disaster agency officials, it killed at least 16 people :among them was a police officer who was electrocuted by a toppled electric post while patrolling.”
Popular tourist attractions like Boracay and Coron were not spared by the typhoon, as well.
Boracay’s mobile phone and internet access were cut off on Wednesday, December 25, and the networks remained down on Thursday, December 26, which was why a full assessment of Ursula’s damage was not immediately possible.
A Korean tourist also said the airport at Kalibo was badly damaged.
“Everything within 100 meters of the airport looks broken. There are a lot of frustrated people at the airport as flights have been canceled,” said Jung Byung Joon on Instagram.
Though much weaker, Ursula tracked a similar path as Super Typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) — the country’s deadliest storm on record which left more than 7,300 people dead or missing in 2013.
“It’s like the younger sibling of Haiyan. It’s less destructive, but it followed a similar path,” Cindy Ferrer, an information officer at the Western Visayas region’s disaster bureau, told AFP news.
As of Thursday afternoon, the eye of the storm was seen around 300 km northwest of Coron, Palawan or 295 km west southwest of Subic. n