Storm Hits Central, Southwest Philippines Leaving At Least 3 Dead, Hundreds Displaced

Rescuers evacuate residents to safer ground as floods caused by Tropical Storm Choi-wan hits Maasin City in Southern Leyte province, central Philippines. The tropical storm has left at least a few people dead and displaced hundreds of villagers in the southern and central Philippines.
Rescuers evacuate residents to safer ground as floods caused by Tropical Storm Choi-wan hits Maasin City in Southern Leyte province, central Philippines. The tropical storm has left at least a few people dead and displaced hundreds of villagers in the southern and central Philippines.
/AP

A tropical storm that hit southern and central Philippines has left at least three people dead and displaced hundreds of residents, according to news reports and government bulletins.

Tropical Storm Dante, also called Choi-Wan, triggered floods and landslides across the southwest region of the country. It hit central Masbate province early Wednesday, local time, with sustained winds of 65 kilometers (40 miles) per hour and gusts of up to 90 kph (56 mph).

A 14-year-old villager from the town of Norala in South Cotabato Province is among the dead, according to the Associated Press. The young girl rushed outside with her father to a riverbank to rescue their farm animals during intense rainfall. They were swept away by strong currents, the news outlet said citing the Office of Civil Defense.

Other villagers had to be rescued by the coast guard after homes were engulfed by floodwaters, the AP said.

A bulletin by the Department of Social Welfare and Development reports more than 45,000 people were affected by the storm in 89 neighborhoods in southwestern Philippines, as of Wednesday evening, local time. More than 12,000 people took temporary shelter across 94 evacuation shelters to ride out the storm.

The Philippines' wet season typically starts in June and lasts until November. The disaster-prone country is hit by an average of 20 tropical storms and typhoons each year.

Forecasters say Dante will maintain its strength as it travels northwest and eventually out to the South China Sea. The storm is expected to weaken into a tropical depression into Thursday morning.

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