At least 21 people have been killed in the Philippines after Typhoon Hagupit, which has now been downgraded to a tropical storm, made its first landfall in Eastern Samar, the Philippine National Red Cross said on Monday. Since then, Hagupit has reportedly weakened but the country is still at risk of heavy rains and flooding.
Of the hundreds of thousands of people evacuated over the weekend, some returned on Monday to find their homes destroyed by the powerful typhoon. The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council in Manila confirmed that two people were dead, while three were injured, Reuters reported. Two others were also reportedly killed outside Samar.
"We have confirmed reports that 21 people died in Eastern Samar, 16 of them in Borongan," Gwendolyn Pang, secretary-general of the Philippine National Red Cross, said, according to Reuters.
Hagupit, also known as Ruby, continued moving toward the capital city of Manila with a maximum wind speed of 90 miles per hour. Forecasters reportedly said that the storm was expected to hit a Batangas provincial town about 68 miles south of Manila by Monday night.
Hagupit is reportedly less powerful than last year’s Typhoon Haiyan, which left over 7,300 people dead. Tens of thousands of families are still living in shelter homes and tents following last year’s storm.
"The worst is over for them. It's a big relief because they really got scared of this typhoon with Haiyan in their minds," Pang said, according to The Associated Press. "And there are still areas bracing for the storm like Manila."
The country has requested 11 countries to send aid while authorities reportedly conducted relief efforts Monday, including clearing debris and supplying food and water to those rendered homeless.