At least 11 people have been reported killed and six others missing on Thursday after Typhoon Phanfone battered several central Philippine islands on Christmas Day, making seven landfalls before heading out to the South China Sea.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer news website reported that two people were reported killed in the province of Leyte, while eight were killed in the provinces of Iloilo and Capiz.

One person was also killed in the province of Biliran.

The Office of Civil Defense was also quoted as saying that it is verifying reports of a dozen more fatalities.

Six other people were also reported missing in Iloilo, although ABS-CBN television channel reported that the number of missing people could be as high as 12.

Thousands of people were also forced to evacuate in several provinces before the typhoon.

Images posted on social media showed some areas in the provinces of Capiz and Iloilo under water.

As of Thursday morning, the Philippine weather agency, PAGASA, said that Phanfone was reported 155km (96 miles) west of the province of Palawan, with maximum winds of up to 130km/h (80 mph) and gustiness of up to 160km/h (99 mph).

The typhoon brought a wet and miserable holiday season to millions in the mainly Catholic nation.

Thousands were also stranded at shuttered ports, while dozens of flights were cancelled.

Al Jazeera’s Barnaby Lo, reporting from Manila, said it could take several days before stranded passengers are allowed to travel.

Phanfone also hit Boracay, Coron and other holiday destinations that are famed for their white-sand beaches and popular with foreign tourists.

The airport at Kalibo, which services Boracay, was badly damaged, according to a Korean tourist who was stranded there and provided images to AFP news agency.

“Roads remain blocked, but some efforts have been made to clear away the damage. It’s pretty bad,” Jung Byung Joon said via Instagram messenger.

“Everything within 100 meters of the airport looks broken. There are a lot of frustrated people at the airport as flights have been cancelled.

The typhoon toppled houses and trees and blacked-out cities in the Philippines’s most storm-prone region, but no deaths were reported.

Though weaker, Phanfone was tracking a similar path as Super Typhoon Haiyan – the country’s deadliest cyclone on record which left more than 7,300 people dead or missing in 2013.

The Philippines is the first major landmass facing the Pacific cyclone belt.

As such, the archipelago is hit by an average of 20 storms and typhoons each year, killing many people, wiping out harvests, homes and other infrastructure, and keeping millions perennially poor.

A July 2019 study by the Manila-based Asian Development Bank said the more frequent storms lop 1 percent off the Philippine economic output, while the stronger ones cut output by nearly 3 percent.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies

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