Eight people have died and nearly 46,000 others have fled their homes in the Philippines, hit by severe flooding on Christmas Day, civil defense authorities said on Monday.

In addition, 19 people are missing after a week of heavy seasonal rains in the southern and eastern regions of the archipelago, they added in an updated report.

The Coast Guard reported rescuing more than 20 families in the towns of Ozamiz and Clarin at the height of the floods.

“The waters have risen to chest level in some areas, but it stopped raining today” on Monday, civil protection officer Robinson Lacre told AFP by telephone from the city. town of Gingoog. Of the 45,700 people evacuated from their homes, 33,000 were also living in Gingoog.

Four deaths, three of them by drowning, have been reported in the neighboring towns of Jimenez and Tudela, in the south of the country.

Two other people, including a little girl, drowned in the eastern towns of Libmanan and Tinambac, civil defense authorities said.

Separately, two crew members were killed when their fishing boat sank in high winds and large waves on Christmas Day off the central island of Leyte, officials said. coast guard, according to which six other people were rescued.

The central and southern Philippines, a country highly prone to natural disasters, were hit by bad weather as the Christmas holidays were just beginning in this archipelago of 110 million people, many of whom are returning to their hometowns. on this occasion to reunite with their families.

In October 2022, severe tropical storm Nalgae, which caused landslides and floods across the country, claimed at least 150 lives.

The Philippines is ranked among the most vulnerable countries to the effects of climate change. Scientists warn that storms will grow more powerful as the planet heats up.