Storm batters eastern Philippines, 12 dead, 15 missing (Lead)

May 3rd, 2009 - 10:15 pm ICT by IANS  

Manila, May 3 (DPA) At least 12 people were killed and 15 others were missing in landslides and floods triggered by a storm battering the eastern Philippines, the Office of Civil Defence (OCD) said Sunday.
Seven of the fatalities were buried in mud and debris when the side of a hill collapsed on a village in Magallanes town in Sorsogon province, 375 km south of Manila.

The OCD said 15 people were missing in the landslide in Magallanes. Rescuers were continuing to search for victims, but bad weather was hampering operations.

A 61-year-old mother and her 28-year-old daughter were electrocuted when flood waters entered their house Sunday morning in Nabua town in nearby Camarines Sur province.

Three other people were killed in floods in the provinces of Camarines Norte and Quezon, authorities said.

More than 13,000 people have been affected by the storm, while more than 4,400 passengers were stranded in seaports after the coast guard suspended all ship travel, the OCD said.

Landslides were reported in other towns of Sorsogon, while electricity was cut off in some areas affected by the storm, the OCD said.

The weather bureau said the storm, dubbed Kujira, has strengthened as it moved east at a speed of around seven kilometres per hour (kph).

Kujira packed maximum sustained winds of 95 kph and gusts of up to 120 kph. Storm signals were up in seven eastern provinces.

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