CIVIL defense authorities in Eastern Visayas region are verifying reports that at least 20 people perished during the onslaught of Tropical Storm Urduja (international name: Kai-tak) in the island-province of Biliran.
A post by the Facebook account Biliran Island showed a tally of the casualties of tropical storm, now tropical depression, Urduja as of Sunday afternoon, December 17.
Based on the post, which quoted the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) of Biliran, a total of 23 individuals have been reported dead, while 10 were injured and 26 were missing.
Personnel of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) Eastern Visayas regional office in Tacloban City in Leyte said they have yet to confirm the report.
"Vine-verify pa po namin yung information (We are still verifying the information)," OCD said in a text message Sunday. Biliran is one of the six provinces of Eastern Visayas, a region that was also devastated by supertyphoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in November 2013.
As of 4 p.m. Sunday, Urduja has changed course and was headed towards Aklan province in Western Visayas.
In its latest weather bulletin, state weather bureau Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said the center of Urduja was estimated at 65 kilometers south of Romblon, Romblon as of 4 p.m. Sunday.
The weather system was still packing maximum sustained winds of 55 kilometers per hour near the center and gustiness of up to 80 kph. (SunStar Philippines)