Powerful typhoon continues to batter Philippines, 61 killed

June 22nd, 2008 - 8:17 am ICT by IANS  

Manila, June 22 (DPA) A powerful typhoon continued Sunday to batter the Philippines, leaving at least 61 people dead and thousands homeless, officials said. At least 30 people were killed in the central province of Iloilo, 560 km south of Manila, where several towns have been inundated in flood waters. Nine more fatalities were reported in nearby Antique province.

Typhoon Fengshen, with maximum sustained winds of 120 km per hour near the centre and gusts of up to 150 km per hour, has also left 17 people dead in the southern provinces of Maguindanao and North Cotabato.

Other fatalities in the typhoon were reported in the central provinces of Negros and Capiz, as well as in the eastern provinces of Leyte and Samar.

Coast guard officials were in frantic search of a passenger ferry, with more than 800 people on board, which ran aground Saturday off Sibuyan Island in the central Philippines.

Melanie Rotoni, a resident of Taclobo village in San Fernando town on Sibuyan island, said she saw what appeared to be a a bow of a huge capsized boat about 10 to 15 metres away from the shore, but there were no signs of life.

Attempts by coast guard and navy boats to reach the area have failed due to huge waves and strong winds.

Fengshen bored down on Manila early Sunday and was expected to wreck havoc in the northern provinces of Bulacan, Pampanga, Tarlac, Zambales and Pangasinan later in the day and Monday.

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