Manila - Twenty-six people have been killed in landslides and floods caused by a tropical depression that brought heavy rains over the eastern Philippines, police and emergency officials said Sunday.
More than 22 000 people were also displaced by the landslides and floods in six provinces that bore the brunt of the rains, the regional civil defence office said.
Most of the victims died in landslides, including a family of three who were sleeping when their house was buried in Legazpi City in Albay province, 336 kilometres south-east of Manila, police said.
In nearby Tiwi town, also in Albay province, four people were also killed in a separate landslide, the regional disaster relief agency said.
Landslides also killed four people in the nearby province of Sorsogon, two in Camarines Sur and three in Eastern Samar province, where the tropical depression made landfall on Saturday.
Three people drowned in floods in Eastern Samar and the adjacent province of Western Samar, the regional civil defence office said.
In Masbate province, six people drowned in floods while one person was killed after being struck by a falling tree, the office added.
Rescue teams were still searching for several missing in the affected areas, emergency officials said.
The weather bureau said the tropical depression, locally named Usman, has weakened into a low-pressure area after making landfall but warned that eastern and central provinces would continue to experience rains.
A cold front and the north-east monsoon were also bringing bad weather over the capital and other parts of the country, which could dampen usually rowdy New Year's Eve celebrations.
Each year the Philippines is hit by an average of 20 cyclones causing floods, landslides and other accidents.dpa