New typhoon batters Philippines

Typhoon Nanmadol has hit the northeast coast of the Philippines - the latest heavy storm to reach the archipelago. 

More than 100,000 people fled to high ground, or crowded into shelters to try and escape Nanmadol's onslaught. 

High winds and heavy rain from the typhoon are hampering efforts to rescue survivors of a previous storm which killed more than 400 people. 

Hundreds of others are still missing after major flooding and mudslides. Rescuers fear conditions will worsen. 

Strong winds 

Nanmadol made landfall late on Thursday on the main island of Luzon. 

The typhoon was packing winds of up to 220km/h (138mph), according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center in Hawaii.

Schools and offices were closed throughout Luzon and tens of thousands of people were evacuated to higher ground. 

Local TV showed residents carrying what possessions they could. 

"We will all die here. We don't have food and water and we lost some of our relatives in landslides," one woman said.

Blocked roads, rushing water and now strong winds and rain are hampering efforts to reach survivors after a week which saw three heavy storms in the country. 

Thousands of people have been left homeless, or stranded on rooftops. 

Foot soldiers 

Hundreds of soldiers were ordered to carry relief supplies on foot to devastated towns on the eastern coast as roads were cut off and bad weather grounded the country's few rescue helicopters.

A navy gunboat was forced to turn around as it tried to bring supplies to the hardest-hit town, Real. 

Most of the dead were drowned, buried by mudslides or electrocuted. 

Casualty figures are still unconfirmed. A military spokesman, Lt Col Buenaventura Pascual, said latest field reports listed 479 people as dead and 560 missing in Quezon province. 

Many casualties were caused by the collapse of a disaster shelter. 

Rescue workers in the village of Tignoan outside Real described how they had recovered 97 bodies in a beach house, where residents had sought refuge from the flood waters. 

They had no machinery for digging and were using spades and their bare hands, they said. 

Rivers of dirt-brown water swept away houses, overturned cars and smashed bridges. 

The worst-hit area was around the eastern coastal towns of Real, Infanta and General Nakar. 

These heavy rains followed two storms last week elsewhere in the country that left as many as 160 people dead or missing. 

Typhoons and storms regularly hit the Philippines. In November 1991, a storm on Leyte island led to some 5,000 deaths from flooding.

02/12/2004

Bron : BBC News

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