Wed, Dec 01, 2004 - Page 5 News List

Storms leave at least 350 dead in Philippines

DESTRUCTION Authorities say hundreds of people were killed across the archipelago from last week's typhoon, while dozens remain missing

AP , MANILA

A Filipino boy is treated by military doctors after he was saved from a mudslide in the province of Quezon, east of Manila, yesterday. At least 350 people were killed in flashfloods and landslides brought about by a tropical depression. Officials urged residents to brace for more devastation as another storm threatened to hit the eastern Philippines today.

PHOTO: EPA

The death toll from landslides and flash floods in the eastern Philippines jumped to nearly 350 with 150 others missing yesterday, most of them from a region still reeling from last week's deadly typhoon.

Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman said 316 people were killed and 150 missing in Quezon province, about 70km east of Manila.

She said the bad weather had forced some rescue helicopters to turn back from areas where many people were stranded on rooftops.

Reuben Sindac, police intelligence chief in Quezon, quoted a colleague as saying he saw 10 to 20 bodies floating in the floodwaters.

He said police communications equipment and vehicles in Infanta were damaged and the whole town was underwater.

The government said 45 people were killed in Quezon province. Another 19 were killed in nearby Aurora province.

At least eight other people were killed in Rizal province, and one person each died in a Manila suburb and in Camarines Norte province, Amparo said.

Radio DZBB, quoting military and local officials, reported three people drowned in Bulacan province, but the number has not yet been reflected in civil defense records.

Air force spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Restituto Padilla said that stricken towns in Quezon were inaccessible after swollen rivers washed away bridges and uprooted trees.

Rescuers also received reports of 14 other people missing in Quezon province, said air force Colonel Alfredo Cayco.

A coast guard helicopter flew 12 people who were injured in the Quezon landslides to Manila for treatment, most with fractures and some in critical condition, Amparo said.

A private helicopter used to survey damage crash-landed in flood waters in northern Nueva Ecija province, but the pilot and a radio reporter with him were rescued by a military helicopter.

TV footage showed residents stranded on patches of dry land, waving at rescue helicopters. Brown-colored floodwater submerged bridges, and large areas of hillsides were swept away, sending tons of dirt and debris onto roads and toppling coconut trees.

The Philippines is hit with about 20 storms and typhoons a year. A typhoon and another storm in the country's east last week killed at least 87 people and left 80 others missing.

Weather forecasters warned that another typhoon may hit the Philippines this week.

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