Philippines' capital next target as storm Hagupit nears Manila; death toll 21

Hundreds of thousands of Filipinos began to return to their homes battered by a powerful typhoon at the weekend, but the nation collectively breathed a sigh of relief as a massive evacuation plan appeared to minimise fatalities.

Philippines' capital next target as storm Hagupit nears Manila; death toll 21

Manila: Manila: Filipinos were spared the fury of being hit by a more monstrous disaster as Typhoon Hagupit relented and weakened into a tropical storm as it moved towards eastern Philippines on Monday. However, it has so far managed to kill 21 according to the Philippine Red Cross.

Typhoon Hagupit comes almost a year after Typhoon Haiyan wreaked havoc in Philippines in Nov 2013, leaving 7000 people either dead or missing. However, Typhoon Hagupit degraded to a tropical storm as it hit eastern Philippines on Saturday and the death toll remains confined to single or double digits.

According to the country's national disaster agency, the death toll was said to be just three. However, Gwendolyn Pang, the secretary general of the Philippine Red Cross, pegged the death toll at 21.

Many of the deaths were caused as people drowned in flood waters in eastern Samar, where the typhoon first made the landfall late Saturday.

The typhoon has already compelled almost 1 million people to flee their homes.

The Philippine Red Cross said it is working with the ICRC and IFRC to bring much needed relief and assistance to communities hit by typhoon Ruby.

Hagupit, which in Filipino means to “lash", on Monday was moving closed to the capital town of Manila packing gusts of speed 135 kph.