Typhoon kills 38 in Philippines

Typhoon kills 38 in Philippines
File photo of Typhoon Neoguri

A typhoon has blasted through the northern Philippines, leaving at least 38 people dead and forcing more than half a million to flee its wind and rain.

Most businesses, shops and banks in Manila reopened a day after Typhoon Rammasun moved on, but schools remained closed as workers cleaned up debris, which littered roads around the capital.

The eye of the typhoon made a late shift away from Manila last night after its peak winds of 93mph and gusts up to 115mph toppled trees and electricity posts and ripped off roofs across the capital, but Rammasun packed far less power than last year’s Typhoon Haiyan. At least 6,300 people died and more than 1,000 were left missing after Haiyan, one of the most ferocious storms to hit land.

More than 500,000 people affected by the typhoon fled to emergency shelters in about a dozen provinces and the Philippine capital, said Alexander Pama, executive director of the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council.

Mr Pama said at least 38 people died in the storm and 10 were reported missing.

Authorities said most of casualties were hit by falling trees or concrete walls or by flying debris.

Electricity has been restored to most of the capital’s 12 million people, but large swathes of provinces south east of Manila which bore the brunt of the typhoon still have no power, Mr Pama said.

He added that the typhoon destroyed over 7,000 houses and damaged more than 19,000, and at least £8 million in crops and livestock were lost, he said.

Although Rammasun slightly weakened as it scythed across the country’s main northern Luzon Island, it could strengthen over the South China Sea before reaching either Vietnam or southern China, according to government forecasters.

Rammasun, the Thai term for god of thunder, is the seventh storm to batter the Philippines this year. About 20 typhoons and storms lash the archipelago on the western edge of the Pacific each year, making it one of the world’s most disaster-prone countries.

Meanwhile, heavy rains killed at least 18 people in southern China as it braced for the arrival of Rammasun, with wind gales expected to reach up to 90 mph.

The government’s Xinhua News Agency said lightning strikes killed six people in Jiangxi province. Three days of rain in neighbouring Hunan province triggered landslides that killed five, and another seven deaths were reported in Guizhou province.

Also in Guizhou, a landslide buried a village near the city of Bijie, leaving six people missing.

Flooding also has hit the south-western province of Yunnan and the southern region of Guangxi. Chinese state television showed flooding threatening the ancient city of Fenghuang in Hunan province, with a historic arched bridge barely emerging from floodwaters.

The rains cut off power to nearly 300,000 homes in the cities of Tongren, Zunyi and Bijie, Xinhua reported. The rains reached the capital, Beijing, and flooded some streets.

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