MOSCOW, December 9 (Sputnik) – After wreaking havoc on the eastern provinces of the Philippines and killing 27 people, Typhoon Hagupit weakened to a tropical storm, Reuters said.
“We now have a total of 27 dead, most of them in Borongan, Eastern Samar,” said Richard Gordon, the head of the Philippine Red Cross, quoted by Reuters.
Hagupit was the most powerful storm to hit the Philippines this year. Winds up to 210 km/h destroyed coastal communities on the far eastern island of Samar on Saturday. Although there was a danger that Manila, the country’s capital, could be swept away by Hagupit, the typhoon weakened, as it traveled westward, the Guardian said.
Around 2,500 houses were destroyed in the town of Borongan, home to 64,000 people.
Despite the widespread destruction in the eastern part of the country, Hagupit has brought only a fraction of devastation the super typhoon Haiyan caused last year, killing thousands of people in the same area, Reuters said.
Clean-up operations are taking place in the affected areas. “People are now returning to their homes and cleaning up. But water is scarce, potable drinking water. We received relief goods which included rice, but no water,” a resident of the affected town Dolores said, as quoted by Reuters.
Nearly 1.7 million people remain in emergency shelters, according to the authorities. Last year's catastrophe taught both the authorities and residents to evacuate everyone who lives near the affected areas prior to the storm.