Storm weakens but leaves trail of 4 dead, thousands stranded

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TROPICAL STORM Basyang (international name: Sanba) has “slightly weakened” into a depression as it swept through south-central Philippines, leaving at least four people dead and almost 4,000 stranded in various seaports.

Weather bureau PAGASA said the rain brought by Basyang has been coupled by a surge of the northeast monsoon.

As of 4 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 13, the center of the tropical depression was 25 kilometers southeast of Tagbilaran City, Bohol.

In and around the mining town of Carrascal, Surigao del Sur, four people were reported killed as heavy rain triggered landslides, according to the police.

“These areas are currently inaccessible and we do not know the extent of the damage,” Carrascal municipal police chief James Alendogao told AFP.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Coast Guard reported that as of 12 noon Tuesday, 3,982 passengers were stranded in various ports in Mindanao, the Visayas, and the Bicol Region in Luzon.

Basyang is expected to sweep over the southern part of Palawan today and be out of the Philippine area by Thursday afternoon.

The Philippines is struck by an average of 20 storms or typhoons each year.

Sanba is the second major system to hit this year, and the first to cause casualties.

Tropical Storm Tembin killed 240 people in Mindanao in December last year.

The country’s deadliest on record is super typhoon Haiyan (local name: Yolanda), which left more than 7,350 people dead or missing across the central Philippines in November 2013. — with a report from AFP