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Sunday, 14 July, 2002, 11:08 GMT 12:08 UK
Philippines storms kill 58
Philippines storm damage
The force of the storms uprooted trees
At least 58 people are now known to have died in severe storms that have been pounding the Philippines for a week, the authorities say.

Four people are missing and 43 have been injured and the death toll is expected to rise further as reports trickle in from remote parts, senior official Melchor Rosales said.


We saw this large mound of mud and earth bury the old man and his house

Olongapo city resident
Three of the latest victims died when their house was buried by a landslide and another was fatally bitten by a snake that had been forced from its home by the floods.

Of more than 24,000 people who had to be evacuated, about 11,000 remain in temporary shelters, Mr Rosales said.

Seasonal problem

Seasonal monsoon rains have been exacerbated by the nearby passing of Typhoon Halong, which is now moving towards the southern Japanese island of Okinawa.

Even in central Manila floodwaters reach as high as a man's neck, the civil defence office said.

Mudslide damage
Three family members were killed by a mudslide

Military trucks, rubber boats and amphibious vehicles have been dispatched to bolster rescue efforts.

The weather has destroyed homes and crops, and brought some reservoirs dangerously close to overflowing, especially in the north of the country.

The authorities have begun releasing water from two dams on the main island of Luzon, which have filled to bursting point.

But releasing the water from the dams in northern Benguet province could also worsen flooding downstream, an official from the civil defence office said.

Disease fears

There are also fears of disease being spread by the floodwaters, public health officials said.

A landslide killed an elderly couple and their three-year-old granddaughter in Olongapo city, about 90 kilometres (55 miles) northwest of Manila on Saturday evening.

Manila floods
Central Manila has not been spared

Witnesses said the grandparents had been frantically trying to dig a channel around their home to divert the floodwater when mud and debris buried the house.

"It was raining very hard when suddenly there was this very loud noise from the ground," said neighbour Vivian Daza.

"Then we saw this large mound of mud and earth bury the old man and his house," she added.

Neighbours managed to rescue six other people from the house.

Japan waits

Typhoon Halong, producing gusts of up to 195 kilometres per hour (122 miles per hour), is now moving away towards to Japan.

But meteorologists say the severe weather will continue in the northern Philippines for the next few days because of a new low pressure over the South China Sea.

Japan is now bracing for an onslaught from the approaching typhoon, which is predicted to hit Okinawa early on Monday.

Ferries and more than 100 flights to and from Okinawa have been cancelled, local authorities said.

Just days ago tropical storm Chataan battered Japan, causing five deaths and forcing thousands to flee their homes.

See also:

08 Jul 02 | Asia-Pacific
12 Jul 02 | Asia-Pacific
05 Jul 02 | Asia-Pacific
04 Jul 02 | Asia-Pacific
18 Sep 00 | Science/Nature
27 Jun 02 | Country profiles
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