The death toll from landslides and floods caused by the first tropical storm to hit the Philippines this year has reached 28, with more than 20 others reported missing.
Twenty-two bodies were recovered in Baybay City in Leyte province, 600 kilometres southeast of the capital Manila, according to Marissa Miguel Cano, the city’s information officer.
Cano said another 27 people had been reported missing in the city, where landslides buried dozens of houses and flash floods swept through the affected villages after tropical storm Agaton slammed into the country on Sunday.
Three people died in the central province of Negros Oriental, and three more in the southern provinces of Davao Oriental and Davao De Oro, the national disaster agency said.
More than 22,600 people were forced to flee their homes in 17 provinces affected by Agaton’s torrential rains.
The storm has since weakened into a tropical depression and is now packing maximum sustained winds of 45 kilometres per hour and gusts of up to 75 km/h, the weather bureau said.
It is moving slowly towards the east, but the bureau said its path could change “considering the continuing erratic nature of its movement”.
The weather bureau is also monitoring severe tropical storm Malakas, which maintained its strength as it moved towards the Philippines from the east.
The Philippine archipelago is hit by an average of 20 tropical cyclones every year.