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(UPDATE 3 - 10:42 p.m.) MANILA, Philippines - Tropical storm "Ofel" claimed at least two lives on Thursday as it barreled across Visayas and also dumped rains in parts of Luzon and Mindanao.
In its 4 p.m. update, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) identified the first fatality as Sophia Recto, who reportedly died due to hypothermia. No other information about the victim was available as of posting time.
Senior Supt. Patrocinio Comendador, provincial police director of Cebu, identified the second victim as Ruben Tabura, 66, who died while fetching water from a river in Barangay Jaclupan, Talisay City at around 3:30 p.m.
Earlier in the day, the NDRRMC said nine people went missing due to the storm. Seven of the nine missing were identified as:
As of 3 p.m., a total of 16,473 passengers and hundreds of cargoes and vessels were stranded in various ports due to the storm.
Earlier, NDRRMC executive director Benito Ramos said that with miximum sustained winds of 65 kilometers near the center, Ofel is considered a weak storm and is not expected to cause heavy damage, according to Ramos.
"Mahina itong si Ofel, 65 kph, kaya walang masyadong sinira. Sana itong mga missing ay buhay pa sila [Ofel is weak at 65 kph, thus it did not cause a lot of damage. We hope that the missing people are alive]," he said.
Meanwhile, a yellow rainfall advisory was issued at 4:20 p.m. by the state weather bureau for Metro Manila, which is currently under Storm Signal Number 1.
Moderate to heavy rains are expected to prevail in the metropolis in the next three hours, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration.