The death toll from Christmas day rains in the southern Philippines has risen to 13, with the search still on for 23 people as the floodwaters started to recede.

Most of the deaths were caused by drowning from flash floods after two days of heavy rains disrupted Christmas celebrations and affected more than 166,000 people, forcing more than 45,000 to take shelter in evacuation centres, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said on Tuesday.

Images on social media showed coastguard, police and fire personnel wading through waist-deep water and carrying residents along landslide-hit areas. Some roads were inundated by overflowing rivers.

The rescue operations were continuing and the damage to agriculture was being assessed, Carmelito Heray, head of the disaster agency in Clarin, a town in the southern province of Misamis Occidental, told DZBB radio station.

There was no tropical storm in the mostly Catholic nation’s most important holiday. But a shear line, an area where warm and cold winds meet, caused rain clouds to form in the southern Philippines.

“The big damage here is livestock because their adult pigs, chickens, goats and cows are now gone,” Clarin town Mayor Emeterio Roa said on radio.



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