Typhoon Mitag slammed into the northeastern Philippines after killing at least 10 people elsewhere in the country, while another deadly storm that had blown away toward Vietnam days earlier headed back yesterday, complicating emergency preparations.
A Philippine Air Force jet with two pilots onboard also went missing in the foul weather while searching for 26 Filipinos whose fishing boat sank last week near the Spratly islands in the South China Sea, the air force said.
Two villagers were also reported missing when raging river currents swept away their house in the northern mountain province of Apayao, officials said.
Most of the typhoon fatalities occurred over the weekend in the eastern provinces of Camarines Sur and Camarines Norte, before Mitag changed course and roared into the coastal town of Palanan, further north in Isabela Province.
After hitting land in Isabela late on Sunday, the typhoon veered toward the country's mountainous northern provinces, where authorities evacuated thousands of people due to fears of landslides.
The typhoon flooded at least 50 villages in Isabela, a province of more than 1 million people where most were without power.
In nearby Cagayan Province, strong winds toppled trees and knocked down power poles, cutting off electricity in the province of nearly 1 million, Governor Alvaro Antonio said. The province's rice industry also suffered losses.
"We were just one or two weeks away from harvest time. I'm afraid we've lost everything to the flood and strong winds," Antonio said by telephone.
A landslide covered a road in the resort town of Pagudpud in northern Ilocos Norte Province, apparently causing no injuries.
Classes were suspended in some provinces, partly because schools were used to shelter evacuees.