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Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 November, 2004, 12:26 GMT
Hundreds die in Philippines storm
Collapsed bridge in Infanta, central Philippines (30/11/04)
Rescue efforts are being hampered by the flood damage
More than 300 people are feared dead as a result of flash floods and landslides triggered by a storm in the Philippines, officials say.

In the worst-hit areas of Quezon province, east of Manila, houses, bridges and roads were swept away.

Officials said thousands of people had been left homeless and bad weather was hindering the search for survivors.

The floods came just a week after storms left about 160 people dead or missing.

Another storm, nicknamed Nanmadol, is approaching the islands. Officials warn it is more powerful than the last one.

The latest storm hit northern and central areas of the Philippines on Monday.

At least 114 people had been killed and 150 were missing in the town of Real, in Quezon province, the Philippine Social Welfare Secretary, Corazon Soliman, said.

She said a further 100 people had died in the town of Infanta, all of which, according to a police official, had been submerged.

Another 92 people are said to have died in the town of General Nakar.

The BBC's Manila correspondent, Sarah Toms, says that with rescue workers overstretched, there are fears about the impact of the next storm, which could hit on Wednesday or Thursday.

'Mismanaged forests'

Swollen rivers had washed away roads and bridges and many affected areas were accessible only by helicopter.

Television pictures showed people standing on small areas of dry land, waving at helicopters.

Submerged road in Nueva Ecija
Stranded road travellers have been waiting for aid

Ms Soliman, who has just completed an aerial tour of the area, told BBC News the high death toll was the result of mudslides caused by erosion.

Intensive logging and an "inability to manage our forest reserves" may be to blame, she said.

Witnesses from Real described seeing a tide of mud and logs charging down the Sierra Madre mountains on Monday night.

Many of those rescued from Real were seriously wounded with "lacerations on their bodies" and "pieces of wood piercing their legs", a coastguard spokesman said.

There are also reports of severe flooding in the Camarines Norte and Rizal provinces, though the number of casualties there is not clear.

Some 100 passengers were rescued from the roofs of three buses amid swirling floodwaters on a road in Nueva Ecija, north of Manila.

Helicopters were dropping food parcels for survivors where there was no space to land, Ms Soliman said.

Typhoons and storms regularly hit the Philippines. A November 1991 storm on Leyte island led to some 5,000 deaths from flooding.




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Rescuers scour Philippines for storm survivors



SEE ALSO:
Landslide tragedy stuns Philippines
21 Dec 03 |  Asia-Pacific
Country profile: The Philippines
15 Sep 04 |  Country profiles


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