TYPHOON Kammuri, locally named Tisoy, left a trail of destruction as strong winds and heavy rain battered the Bicol region in central Philippines on Tuesday, leaving at least two people dead.

A 59-year-old man died in Baco town in Oriental Mindoro after he was hit by a fallen tree, provincial Governor Humerito Dolor told DZMM radio. Another man died after he was hit by a torn metal roof sheet in the municipality of Pinamalayan, he added.

The victims were clearing their homes when they were hit, Mr. Dolor said. There would have been more deaths “if there was no preemptive evacuation,” he added.

At least 20,000 people were evacuated even before the typhoon struck the province, the governor said.

Legazpi Airport in Albay province was heavily damaged, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines said in an emailed statement. Legazpi flights were expected to resume today.

Busuanga Airport in Palawan province also suspended operations due to strong winds and heavy rain, it said.

Thousands were stranded in the Bicol region, according to the Philippine National Police (PNP).

Meanwhile, three people were hurt as the storm hit Samar province and nearby areas, ABS-CBN News reported, citing local officials.

Two residents were injured by storm debris in Santa Margarita town, while another was trapped in a collapsed wall. All three were safe, the ABS-CBN news website said.

Landslides and floods also hit Motiong and Jiabong towns in Samar, and Lapinig and Mapanas in Northern Samar, it added. About 200 families were evacuated from the coastal areas of Calbayog town.

The Agriculture department said more than 200,000 hectares of rice land and almost 26,000 hectares of corn areas were at risk in regions affected by Typhoon Kammuri.

Crops at their reproductive and maturing stages were the most vulnerable due to strong winds and floods. These cover 156,594 hectares of rice land worth P11.6 billion, the agency said.

The department has set aside P250 million to help the agriculture sector, 104,984 bags of rice seeds, 10,811 bags of corn seeds and another P65 million in recovery assistance.

The storm was expected to pass south of Metro Manila, home to about 13 million people and which is hosting thousands of athletes competing at the 30th Southeast Asian Games, according to the local weather bureau.

The storm was seen off the coast of Occidental Mindoro as of 6 p.m. on Tuesday and continued to weaken as it moved west toward the South China Sea, it said.

Weather was expected to improve on Wednesday and the typhoon will be out of the Philippine area of responsibility by Thursday afternoon, it said.

Kammuri made landfall near the city of Gubat in Sorsogon province on Monday evening, clocking maximum sustained winds of 215 kilometers per hour, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, making it a Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale.

It also made landfall over Naujan, Oriental Mindoro at 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday. — with reports from Vincent Mariel P. Galang and Emmanuel Tupas, Philippine Star