Nine killed, thousands flee as storm pummels the Philippines

Other News Materials 26 July 2011 12:13 (UTC +04:00)

At least nine people were killed Tuesday when a tropical storm triggered landslides and huge floods in the eastern Philippines, officials said.

Seven fatalities were from Albay province, 360 kilometres south-east of Manila, which was battered by Tropical Storm Nock-Ten's heavy rains and strong winds overnight, according to provincial Governor Joey Salceda.

Salceda said three of those killed were buried in a landslide, two were hit by falling trees, one was electrocuted and another one drowned in floods.

"All the towns in the province are under water," he said. "Many roads are impassable due to landslides and floods, so our rescue units are finding it hard to reach badly affected areas."

Salceda added more than 500,000 people were forced to flee their homes due to the floods and landslides.

"Some residents whose houses were not affected by floods took in their less fortunate neighbours," he said.

Two more fatalities were reported in the nearby province of Catanduanes, according to provincial Governor Joseph Cua.

Cua said one person drowned while another was hit by an electricity pole that was toppled by strong winds.

Aviation authorities said more than 30 domestic flights were cancelled due to the bad weather. Hundreds of passengers were stranded in various sea ports in the eastern provinces after the coast guard prevented vessels from sailing.

The Office of Civil Defence said at least five fishermen went missing after their boats were pummeled by huge waves in the provinces of Eastern Samar, Catanduanes and Albay.

Storm Nock-Ten, with maximum sustained winds of 65 kilometres per hour (kph) and gusts of 80 kph, was spotted 100 kilometres off the eastern province of Camarines Norte, the weather bureau said.

It was expected to make landfall late Tuesday in the north-eastern province of Aurora.