Philippines storm leaves six dead

At least six people have died in the Philippines after Typhoon Mitag caused chaos in the country's north and east.

Thousands of people were evacuated before the storm hit, with winds of up to 190km/h (121mph) ripping up power lines and uprooting trees.

Officials said five people drowned and one was electrocuted as the typhoon brushed past eastern provinces earlier.

Mitag has now moved north-eastwards into the South China Sea, and is likely to miss mainland China.

Meanwhile, in Vietnam, evacuees returned home after Typhoon Hagibis - which left 13 dead in the Philippines last week - changed course.

A much-weakened Hagibis is now heading back towards the western Philippines island of Palawan.

Insurgent ceasefire

Philippine officials said people in the central Bicol region were especially relieved that Mitag had changed course.

The area is still recovering from last year's Typhoon Durian, which triggered flash floods and volcanic mudslides that killed hundreds of people.

Residents there have now been allowed to leave the emergency shelters where they had taken cover as the typhoon approached.

With memories of Durian still fresh, the government and local authorities had taken action to try to minimise loss of life, evacuating more than 250,000 people.

And the army had declared a ceasefire with local communist rebels so that troops could focus on damage prevention.

But many areas still suffered huge economic damage, with crops being ravaged by floods in the northern provinces of Cagayan and Isabela.

"We were just one or two weeks away from harvest time," Cagayan's governor Alvaro Antonio told the Associated Press.

"I'm afraid we've lost everything to the flood and strong winds."

26/11/2007

Bron : BBC News

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