Philippine storm death toll surges to 68

Philippines: Cyclone Usman kills dozens

In Bicol, the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) said 15 of the 50 reported deaths were in Albay province, 16 in Camarines Sur, seven in Masbate, six in Sorsogon and six in Camarines Norte.

More than 6,600 people were stranded in various ports, while Cebu Air Inc. and Philippine Airlines Inc. canceled more than a dozen flights from December 27 to December 30.

More than 22 000 people were also displaced by the landslides and floods in six provinces that bore the brunt of the rains, the regional civil defence office said.

The storm affected almost 190,000 people, officials said, with dozens of areas facing power outages as a result of infrastructure damage.

Fifty of the victims were killed in five provinces in the eastern region of Bicol, which bore the brunt of heavy rains brought by a tropical depression, authorities say.

Rescue teams were still searching for several missing in the affected areas, emergency officials said.

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NDRRMC spokesman Edgar Posadas said 59 of the deaths were from the Bicol region, 13 from Eastern Visayas in the central Philippine and three others from nearby regions.

In Masbate province, six people drowned in floods while one person was killed after being struck by a falling tree, the office added.

Thousands of others were stranded at seaports, airports and bus terminals following the cancelation of dozens of inter-island trips.

The tropical depression, which has since been downgraded to a low pressure area, left the Philippines on this afternoon.

The bad weather will likely also affect Manila and other parts of the country, which could dampen usually rowdy New Year's Eve celebrations.

About 20 tropical cyclones hit the Philippines every year.

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