Death toll from Philippines storm, landslides climbs to 126

The death toll from a storm that devastated the Philippines shortly after Christmas rose to 126, authorities said on Sunday, adding landslides caused by torrential rain were the top cause.

The storm hit central and eastern Philippine islands on December 29 and caused massive flooding and landslides.

More than 100 people died in the mountainous Bicol region southeast of Manila, regional disaster officials said.

While the Bicol region is often hit by deadly typhoons, many people failed to take necessary precautions because the storm was not strong enough to be rated as a typhoon under the government's storm alert system, according to civil defence officials.

Officials also said that many residents were reluctant to leave their homes during the Christmas holidays.

(with news agency inputs)