12 killed, 18 missing as typhoon hits Philippines

June 21st, 2008 - 2:35 pm ICT by IANS  

Manila, June 21 (DPA) At least 12 people were killed Saturday and some 18 reported missing as a powerful typhoon hit a large area of the Philippines, officials said. Ten people drowned before dawn and 12 remained missing when flashfloods swept away houses near the bank of the Rifao river in South Upi town in Maguindanao province, 930 km south of Manila, according to village councillor Joy Veles.

“The river overflowed shortly after midnight so the people residing near the river bank were asleep when their houses were swept away,” she said.

An eight-year-old girl and her grandfather were buried under a landslide at a dumpsite in the southern city of Cotabato, 930 km south of Manila, after overnight rain induced by typhoon Fengshen, the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) said.

The NDCC added six more people remained missing when rivers overflowed in the nearby towns of Alamada and Guindulungan.

The NDCC said Fengshen triggered heavy rains in eastern, central and southern provinces that caused landslides and mudslides as well as flashfloods.

More than 200,000 people in low-lying areas were evacuated as floodwaters submerged large areas in the central cities of Iloilo and Bacolod and the southern provinces of Maguindanao and Sultan Kudarat.

Fengshen, with a maximum wind speed of 140 km an hour and gusts of up to 170 km per hour, was spotted off the coast of Kalibo in the central province of Aklan, 360 km south of Manila.

Several domestic flights were cancelled and inter-island ferry services were suspended, stranding thousands of passengers.

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo conferred Saturday with cabinet officials to ensure the smooth flow of relief operations in the typhoon-affected areas.

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