At least 16 dead in Philippines following Christmas Day typhoon

At least 16 people have died in the Philippines after Typhoon Phanfone, locally known as Typhoon Ursula, hit the country on Christmas Day, CNN reports.

The Regional Disaster Reduction and Management Council said 12 people died in the Western Visayas region and the Office of Civil Defense said three had died in Eastern Visayas, CNN Philippines reported. 

The typhoon is the equivalent of a Category 1 hurricane and hit the country in the late afternoon on Tuesday, officials said, bringing widespread damage across the largely Catholic country as many residents prepared for Christmas celebrations.

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Officials said that two of the victims were electrocuted and one was hit by a mango tree, CNN reports. 

Another victim from Eastern Samar, Carlos Yu Beltran, 70, drowned after his house was swept away in a storm surge, the Philippine Information Agency reported. 

Five fishermen are also reported missing, according to the agency. 

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Additionally, thousands of impacted residents have been taken into refuge evacuation centers, CNN reports citing the Philippine national disaster management agency. About 2,351 people have been impacted by the typhoon and 1,654 were taken into refuge evacuation centers, according to the agency. 

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