Monday, May 9, 2011

Nine dead as storm slams into Philippines

A highway patrol officer directs the traffic as motorists negotiate a flooded portion of a highway at suburban Makati city, east of Manila, in the Philippines Sunday May 8, 2011 following a heavy downpour spawned by tropical storm Aere. -- PHOTO: AP

MANILA - TROPICAL storm Aere slammed into the eastern Philippine coast on Sunday, bringing heavy rains and landslides that have so far killed nine people and forced thousands to leave their homes.

The Philippines' state weather bureau said Aere made landfall over the island of Catanduanes before noon and moved north-west over the main island of Luzon.

Nine people were killed due to landslides, drowning and fallen power lines, mostly in the eastern Bicol region and Catanduanes, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said in a statement.

Authorities in Bicol scrambled their rescue and relief missions but were hampered by the rough weather.

'The provincial road going to the (area) is not passable due to flooding,' said Inspector Ayn Natuel, a spokesman at the Bicol regional police headquarters.

Aere, the first major storm of the year, hit Catanduanes, an island of about 250,000 people, with winds hitting 85 kmh at its centre. -- AFP

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