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Archive for Friday, December 3, 2004

Another typhoon batters Philippines

December 3, 2004

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— A powerful typhoon sliced through the Philippines today, forcing nearly 170,000 people to flee homes to higher ground even as Filipinos struggled to recover from an earlier storm that killed more than 420 and left possibly hundreds more missing.

Mudslides and flash floods earlier in the week have turned parts of Quezon province and other areas facing the Pacific Ocean into a sea of mud littered with bodies, uprooted trees, collapsed homes and bridges.

"We're getting reports of bodies still flowing in the rivers," said air force spokesman Lt. Col. qu Padilla.

The were conflicting reports on casualties from the earlier storm with police and civil defense authorities providing a confirmed count of 422 dead and 177 missing. The military said there were 479 dead and 560 missing, but regional commander Maj. Gen. Pedro Cabuay cautioned that his figures came from local officials that could not be immediately confirmed.

The latest storm, Typhoon Nanmadol, made landfall late Thursday along the northeast coast with sustained winds of up to 115 mph and gusts of up to 138 mph. The storm roared across the Philippines today, slamming many of the same areas hit by the earlier storm.

Schools and government offices remained closed today in Manila and the rest of the country, the presidential office announced. The coast guard prevented ferries, small boats and fishermen from leaving ports, and the air force said the bad weather had basically grounded its rescue fleet.

The typhoon drenched Manila and most of the country, causing flooding on some streets and temporary power outages in the capital.

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