41 dead, 45 missing as TD 'Urduja' leaves PH; country girds for 'Vinta'

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Story updated to include PAGASA's 11 a.m. update and the statement of NDRRMC Spokesperson Mina Marasigan.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 19) — Forty-one people are dead and 45 are missing as Tropical Depression "Urduja" exited the Philippines on Tuesday, leaving hundreds of millions of pesos in damage, authorities said.

This, as another weather disturbance is predicted to enter the Philippines on Wednesday, weather officials said.

The low pressure area (LPA) located over the Philippine Sea is, as of Tuesday, expected to track along the same course as Urduja, weather forecasters said.

If the LPA enters the so-called Philippine Area of Responsibility and intensifies into a tropical depression, it will be named "Vinta," PAGASA said.

Meanwhile, 12,682 families remain in evacuation centers, and initial assessments show that the storm resulted in over P543 million ($10 million) in damage to infrastructure, said National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) spokesperon Mina Marasigan.

She added that the numbers of the 86 dead and missing were being subject to verification by the Department of Interior and Local Government.

Most of the dead and missing came from the island province of Biliran, where heavy rainfall triggered landslides that wiped out families and their homes, local authorities said.

"Kailangan directly ma-attribute natin ito sa disaster," Marasigan said.

[Translation: It must be directly attributed to the disaster.]

Urduja was spotted 400 km west of Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Adminstration (PAGASA) said in its 11 a.m. advisory.

The weather bureau has also lifted all tropical cyclone signals, but said sea travel remains risky over the seas off the island of Palawan due to the surge of the northeast monsoon.

"Vinta" to enter Wednesday, expected to hit by Christmas

A new low pressure area (LPA) was estimated at around 1,710 kilometers east of Mindanao and may enter Philippine territory on Wednesday, PAGASA said.

Disaster management officials on Monday said the LPA may make landfall on Christmas Eve.

Weather forecasters said it may then develop into a tropical storm and head toward the same provinces in Visayas and Mindanao where Urduja passed.

Relief goods are in place and the public are urged to do necessary preparations.

They warned residents living in landslide-prone areas, especially in the Visayas, which have already received huge amount of rainfall since last week, to do preemptive evacuation.

People traveling back to the provinces for the holidays  also advised to monitor government bulletins.