The death toll from a giant storm crossing the Philippines rose to 27 on Tuesday (Dec 9), the Red Cross said, but there was widespread relief after it brushed the capital without causing major damage.
Most of the people killed were on the far eastern island of Samar, where Hagupit initially made landfall as a typhoon on the weekend with winds of 210kms an hour. Hagupit then weakened while moving slowly west, passing close to the capital Manila on Monday night and Tuesday morning without dumping forecast heavy rain.
Tens of thousands of people, mostly the city's poorest residents who live in shanty homes along the coast and riverbanks, spent the night in evacuation centres to wait out the storm. They returned to their homes on Tuesday in drizzly weather after only moderate rain and no major flooding throughout the night.
Office and government workers, most of whom had been ordered to stay at home on Monday, returned to their jobs, and the stock market resumed operations. Philippine Red Cross chairman Richard Gordon told AFP on Tuesday the number of people confirmed killed so far was 27, although he expected that number to rise with full assessments from Samar and other areas yet to be done.
Hagupit was downgraded from a tropical storm to a tropical depression on Tuesday, as it passed over the far western islands of the Southeast Asian archipelago and approached the South China Sea. Its sustained winds had weakened to 60kms an hour.