The death toll in Typhoon Nesat’s onslaught in the Philippines rose to 23 on Wednesday, as the country began to clean up the destruction left behind by the powerful cyclone.

Thirty-five people, most of them fishermen, were missing, the Office of Civil Defence said.

Most of the fatalities were caused by uprooted trees, collapsing structures or flying debris, it added.

A 2-year-old girl and her grandmother were buried in a landslide in the northern province of Ifugao on Tuesday.

Government and private offices reopened, but many school classes remained suspended, and the U.S. embassy in Manila was closed after its seaside compound was flooded on Tuesday.

Nesat slammed into the north-eastern Philippines on Tuesday with maximum sustained winds of 140 kilometres per hour (kph) and gusts of up to 170 kph.

With a diameter of 600 kilometres, the typhoon’s effect was felt in the entire northern region of Luzon and some parts of the eastern region of Bicol.

The weather bureau said Nesat weakened to maximum sustained winds of 120 kph and gusts of up to 150 kph, as it crossed the mountains of Luzon late on Tuesday.

But the bureau said on Wednesday that the storm had regained its strength, with maximum sustained winds of up to 130 kph and gusts of up to 160 as it headed toward China.

Nearly 53,000 people were forced to flee their homes as the typhoon’s heavy rains triggered floods and landslides, the OCD said.

Winds tore off roofs, toppled electricity and communication poles, uprooted trees and damaged houses and other structures.

In Manila, teams from the public works department began to clear roads of debris and fallen trees. Cars submerged in Tuesday’s floods were towed away.

Local government officials ordered the immediate repair of collapsed portions of the Manila Bay seawall, which had worsened the flooding in the capital.

Many towns in the northern Philippines were isolated by landslides that closed roads to traffic. Electricity and communication lines also remained down.

More In: International | News