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Last Updated: Friday, 3 December, 2004, 00:21 GMT
New typhoon batters Philippines
Residents evacuate to higher ground
Tens of thousands have been evacuated to higher ground
Tens of thousands of people have fled from the path of yet another powerful storm in the Philippines.

People crowded shelters and high ground as Typhoon Nanmadol hit the north-east coast of the country.

More than 400 people have been killed and hundreds more are missing after heavy storms caused floods and landslides earlier in the week.

Efforts to rescue survivors were hampered as Nanmadol's high winds and heavy rains battered the archipelago.

The typhoon was packing sustained winds of up to 185km/h (115mph), according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center in Hawaii.

Victims isolated

The typhoon made landfall late on Thursday on the main island of Luzon, where schools and offices were closed and tens of thousands of people were evacuated to higher ground.

The National Disaster Co-ordinating Council said five people were killed by falling trees in central Samar island.

Local TV showed residents carrying what possessions they could.

Man sits on rooftop in Pulilan town, Bulacan province

"We will all die here. We don't have food and water and we lost some of our relatives in landslides," one woman said.

Blocked roads, rushing water and now strong winds and rain are hampering efforts to reach survivors of three previous heavy storms to hit the country in quick succession.

Thousands of people have been left homeless, or stranded on rooftops.

Hundreds of soldiers were ordered to carry relief supplies on foot to devastated towns on the eastern coast as roads were cut off and bad weather grounded the country's few rescue helicopters.

Officials worried that thousands of people would be left without food and drinking water.

"We are very concerned and we are not sure how we can avoid further casualties in these areas," Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman told Reuters.

Loggers blamed

A navy gunboat was forced to turn around as it tried to bring supplies to the hardest-hit town, Real.

Most of the dead were drowned, buried by mudslides or electrocuted.

Casualty figures are still unconfirmed. A military spokesman, Lt Col Buenaventura Pascual, said latest field reports listed 479 people as dead and 560 missing in Quezon province.

Many people were killed when the building they had sheltered in collapsed.

Rescue workers in the village of Tignoan outside Real described how they had recovered 97 bodies in a beach house, where residents had sought refuge from the flood waters.

They had no machinery for digging and were using spades and their bare hands, they said.

Rivers of dirt-brown water swept away houses, overturned cars and smashed bridges.

The worst-hit area was around the eastern coastal towns of Real, Infanta and General Nakar.

Deforestation, much of it illegal, has been blamed for making the land much more vulnerable to floods and mudslides.

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


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Survivors attempt to recover bodies from the mud




SEE ALSO:
In pictures: Philippine storm's wake
02 Dec 04 |  In Pictures
Race to find Philippine survivors
01 Dec 04 |  Asia-Pacific
Landslide tragedy stuns Philippines
21 Dec 03 |  Asia-Pacific
Country profile: The Philippines
15 Sep 04 |  Country profiles


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