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Last Updated: Monday, 15 May 2006, 06:52 GMT 07:52 UK
Philippines typhoon toll hits 37
Tropical storm
About 20 typhoons hit the Philippines each year
Thousands of evacuees are returning home in the Philippines after a storm that caused heavy rains and flash floods when it hit on Friday.

At least 37 people are thought to have died in tropical storm Chanchu, now heading towards southern China.

Most of those who died were drowned when a boat capsized off Masbate, south of the main island, Luzon.

Monday's meeting of South East Asian economic ministers was moved from the central island of Boracay, to Manila.

More than 600 homes were completely destroyed while more than 3,500 were partially damaged as gusts of up to 150km/h (93mph), ripped through the central and north-western Philippines.

Several people were killed by falling trees and concrete walls, and several fishermen were reported missing.

But as of Monday there were just 435 families left in evacuation centres, reports quoting a disaster official said.

Nerti Amparo, chief of operations at the National Disaster Co-ordinating Council, told Philippine television: "With the weather that we have now, they would start going back to their homes except for those who have lost their houses and have no relatives to turn to."

About 20 typhoons hit the Philippines each year, half a dozen of which cross the country, mostly during the rainy season from mid-May until September.

Country profile: The Philippines
07 Apr 06 |  Country profiles



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