TYPHOON FENGSHEN KILLS 80 in Philippines

Residents wade through a flooded street in Manila following heavy rains brought about by typhoon Fengshen on Sunday June 22, 2008 in Manila. Typhoon Fengshen lashed across the Philippines for a second day Sunday, killing at least 80 people as it submerged entire communities and capsized a passenger ferry carrying more than 800 passengers and crew.
Typhoon Fengshen lashed the Philippines for a second day Sunday leaving at least 80 people dead, but the death toll could rise significantly after a passenger ferry capsized carrying more than 740 passengers and crew.   Villagers found four bodies, children’s slippers and life jackets that washed ashore Sunday near the stranded MV Princess of Stars. Port captain Nestor Ponteres said the ferry’s owner, Sulpicio Lines, had lost radio contact with the ship and the fate of its passengers was unknown. The death toll included 59 people who drowned in the central province of Iloilo, with another 40 missing, Gov. Neil Tupaz said. “Almost all the towns are covered by water. It’s like an ocean,” Tupaz said, adding thousands have been displaced in the province that is home to 1.7 million people. The four dead washed ashore, including a man and a woman who bound themselves together, were believed to have been on the vessel, which initially ran aground a few miles off central Sibuyan island Saturday, then capsized, said Mayor Nanette Tansingco of San Fernando on Sibuyan island. The typhoon lashed the central Philippines for about four hours Saturday, setting off landslides and floods, knocking out power and blowing off roofs. Packing sustained winds of 74 miles per hour and gusts of up to 93 mph, the typhoon shifted course Sunday to the northwest and battered Manila at dawn, dumping heavy rain on the capital. Rescue vessels aborted an initial attempt Saturday to get to the 23,824-ton ferry, but efforts resumed in stormy weather Sunday, with one ship approaching the stricken vessel, coast guard chief Vice Admiral Wilfredo Tamayo said. “A lot of efforts have been done to send off rescue boats, but we really can’t get through the very rough weather,” Tamayo told The Associated Press. Tansingco said the bodies were found in three San Fernando villages, adding residents have also found other objects that apparently came from the ferry. “Many slippers of children were washed ashore the shoreline and found by villagers,” Tansingco told DZBB radio. The ferry – with 626 passengers and 121 crew members on board – was “dead in the water” after its engine failed around noon Saturday, Tamayo said. In southern Maguindanao province, at least 14 people drowned in flash floods Saturday, including 10 swept away from riverside homes, said provincial administrator Norie Unas. Five others were missing. A 50-year-old man and his 10-year-old grandson were killed when a landslide buried their hillside shanty in Cotabato city Saturday, Mayor Muslimin Sema said. Authorities recovered the body of a farmer, one of three people reported missing in neighboring Cotabato province. President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo directed the defense and local government departments to stand by for relief and rescue missions before she left for the United States late Saturday. Officials said neck-deep flood waters had risen further with a high tide, forcing the evacuation of 5,000 people in Sultan Kudarat township in southern Shariff Kabunsuan province, near Cotabato city. Officials ordered the evacuation of more than 117,000 people from areas prone to floods and landslides in central Albay province. But many returned home by midday Saturday after the typhoon missed the area.
The National Disaster Coordinating Council reported flooding, landslides and power outages caused by toppled power pylons in many areas in the southern and central Philippines. More than 100 domestic flights were canceled because of the typhoon.
SHAHRUL PESHAWAR, Kg. Baru 

taken from Miamiherald.com

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