Page last updated at 15:12 GMT, Saturday, 31 October 2009

Fresh storm batters Philippines


Water rose to chest-high levels in the town of Santa Cruz in Laguna province

The fourth storm in a month to hit the Philippines has lashed the eastern coastal province of Quezon, bringing heavy rain and winds to the region.

Typhoon Mirinae followed a similar route to a September storm, Ketsana, which dumped the heaviest rains in 40 years on Manila.

At least seven people have been killed and several others are missing.

Many regions are still reeling after the worst storm-related floods in decades, which have left hundreds dead.

Philippines Map

Mirinae, with winds of 150 km/h (93mph) and gusts of up to 186 km/h (115mph) made landfall on Quezon around midnight Friday, sweeping west, south of the capital and weakening into a tropical storm on Saturday afternoon.

It is thought to be heading in the direction of Vietnam.

'High as rooftops'

One man was found dead and his one-year-old baby was missing after they were washed away while trying to cross an overflowing creek in Pililla township in Rizal province, east of Manila.

Six people were reported dead in Laguna province, just south of the capital. At least four others are believed to be missing.

In the town of Santa Cruz, hundreds of residents were seen wading through stagnant waters after the storm hit. Surrounding roads were flooded and naval boats sent to help with rescue efforts.

"The waters were really high. It was like a flashflood. It was waist deep in our area but in other areas it went as high as the rooftops," local official Marlon Albay was quoted as saying.

30 Oct: Typhoon Mirinae hits Quezon, killing at least seven
3 Oct: Typhoon Parma's floods and landslides kill at least 200
26 Sept: Tropical Storm Ketsana wreaks havoc, kills more than 300
7 Aug: Typhoon Morakot hits the north, killing at least 10

Earlier, the authorities had ordered the evacuation of about 115,000 people in provinces south of the capital.

Flights cancelled

At least 10,000 left their homes in areas near rivers and the active Mayon volcano in Albay province, which the authorities feared might unleash rivers of mud and loose volcanic rock.

Officials also closed schools and grounded ferries, and trucks loaded with relief supplies were sent to northern areas in the storm's path.

About 180 flights from Manila were cancelled.

Before the storm arrived, residents in the city were told to prepare supplies to last 72 hours and stay indoors.

Vanessa Tobin, the representative of the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) in the Philippines, told the BBC that the rain had been very heavy in the capital early on Saturday, but that it had been replaced by strong winds.

Residents wade through floodwaters in Santa Cruz
Naval boats were sent to Santa Cruz, where roads were badly flooded

"The reports from Manila are not as bad as had been expected," she said. "But we are getting reports from the south... - particularly around Bicol, which was hit in 2006 by mudslides - that there has been heavy rain and has been significant damage there," she added.

More than 900 people have been killed in the multiple storms, including Typhoon Parma, which have battered the Philippines over the last month.

More than 100,000 people are sheltering in government-run evacuation centres and some communities in Manila remain flooded with residents using makeshift rafts to move around.

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