Philippine typhoon death toll rises to 43, hundreds of thousands seek shelter

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The Independent Online

The death toll from Typhoon Bebinca rose to 43 today as more victims of landslides and drownings were reported, officials and radio reports said.

The death toll from Typhoon Bebinca rose to 43 today as more victims of landslides and drownings were reported, officials and radio reports said.

More than 630,000 people were forced to flee their homes to escape floodwaters and typhoon damage in metropolitan Manila and 14 provinces, the civil defence office said.

The typhoon toppled trees, cut power, triggered landslides and flooded many areas as it sliced through Manila and the northern Philippines at dawn Friday, forcing schools, government offices and banks to close.

At midday Saturday, the typhoon was centered about 450 kilometers (280 miles) northwest of Manila. It had weakened slightly, with gusts of up to 140 kph (86 mph), as it moved northwest at 11 kph (7 mph) over the South China Sea, the weather bureau said.

Most of those who died were either buried in landslides or drowned, officials said.

At least 22 people were killed by landslides, 16 of them in Antipolo city east of Manila. Another 14 drowned, including five mountaineers who tried to cross a swollen river in Laguna province southeast of Manila.

Four other people were killed when a concrete wall collapsed on them in Calamba, Laguna. The others died after being hit by falling objects.

The office of civil defence said nine other people were missing.

Bebinca arrived a week after Typhoon Xangsane swept through the northern Philippines and left 40 people dead, 249 injured and 66 missing.

The civil defence office said 1.3 billion pesos ($25 million) worth of property and infrastructure was damaged and more than 118,000 people were forced to flee their homes because of damage from Xangsane and flooding in provinces north and southeast of Manila.

After leaving the Philippines early this week, Xangsane moved north toward Taiwan, where at least 53 people died and 10 were missing in the island's worst flooding in three decades.

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