The strong typhoon, packing wind speeds of 125 km per hour and gusts of up to 150 kph, caused flooding and prompted forced evacuation orders for tens of thousands of people.

A fallen power post blocks a road after tropical storm Molave hit the town of Pola, Oriental Mindoro province.

There was no immediate report of casualties, but 12 fishermen at sea failed to return to Catanduanes province off the country’s eastern coast, an official of the civil defence office told the local DZMM radio, adding that they have been missing for 24 hours.

Search and rescue operations are underway.

Molave, the 17th typhoon to hit the Philippines this year, follows Tropical Storm Saudel, which last week caused widespread flooding in Quezon province in the Calabarzon region, southeast of the capital Manila.

In Albay province, 15,000 evacuees were allowed to return to their homes but many areas remained inundated and without power.

About half of the Philippines’ 107 million population live in the Luzon region. The country is hit by an average 20 typhoons each year.

The agriculture agency said affected regions were able to harvest crops from some 133,292 hectares of farmland before the typhoon arrived, saving an estimated 530,593 tons of unmilled rice from destruction.

Molave is forecast to exit the Philippines on October 27 morning and head towards Vietnam.

Source: VNA