MANILA, Philippines (AFP) — Flooding on Christmas Day in the Philippines caused the evacuation of roughly 46,000 people, civil defence authorities said Monday.

According to authorities, two individuals were dead and nine others were missing after heavy seasonal rain swamped areas of Mindanao’s southern province.

The accident darkened the most important festival for the predominantly Catholic nation.

“The floods rose over the chest in some parts, but the rains stopped today,” civil defence worker Robinson Lacre told AFP by phone from Gingoog city, which accounted for 33,000 of the 45,700 people evacuated.

At the height of the flooding, the coastguard reported it rescued members of more than two dozen households in Ozamiz and Clarin.

The coastguard shared photos of its orange-clad rescuers carrying babies taken from houses in waist-deep flooding.

In the town of Jimenez, two people were killed.

Bad weather has battered the central and southern Philippines as the disaster-prone nation of 110 million people begins its lengthy Christmas break.

During this time, millions of people go to their hometowns for family reunions.

A fishing boat was also sunk off the shore of the central island of Leyte on Christmas Day, according to the coastguard. Two members of the crew were murdered, while six others were saved.

The Philippines is one of the most vulnerable countries to the effects of climate change.

Storms are growing more ferocious as the earth warms, according to scientists.

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