Landslides kill 9 in Philippines as storm leaves

MANILA (Reuters) - Landslides caused by a tropical storm have killed nine people in the central and southern Philippines in the last two days, disaster and weather bureau officials said on Tuesday.

The tropical storm, known as 23W, dumped heavy rain before moving out to sea, causing landslides and flooding, cutting power supplies, closing schools and offices and forcing smaller carriers to cancel several flights.

"Most of the fatalities were buried in landslides in Surigao del Norte and swept by floods on Cebu and Lanao del Norte provinces," Glenn Rabonza, head of the office of civil defence, told reporters, adding five people were injured and two missing.

"Our rescue and emergency workers are working round the clock to restore power and help thousands of people marooned by floods and landslides."

The tropical storm, packing 65 kph winds and moving at 26 kph, was estimated at 230 km east northeast of western Palawan island and was expected to gain strength as it moved out into the South China Sea on Wednesday.

Tropical storms in the region gather intensity from the warm ocean waters and frequently develop into typhoons that hit Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines and southern China during a season that lasts from early summer to late autumn.

Rabonza said officials were rushing food, water and warm clothes to about 10,000 people brought to temporary shelters on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao, parts of the central island of Cebu and villages around the slopes of Mount Mayon in Bicol province.

Rabonza said small fishing boats were warned to stay in port and cautioned residents of coastal and low-lying areas about storm surges and more rain in the next two days.

-reuters

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