Storm Fung-Wong kills 5 in Philippines

2014-09-20 10:30
A rescuer helps a resident to go to a safer area after heavy monsoon rains spawned by tropical storm Fung-Wong flooded Marikina city, east of Manila. (File, AP)

A rescuer helps a resident to go to a safer area after heavy monsoon rains spawned by tropical storm Fung-Wong flooded Marikina city, east of Manila. (File, AP)

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Manila - Storm Fung-Wong churned towards Taiwan on Saturday after killing at least five people in the Philippines, and forcing some 200 000 people into temporary shelter, including in the capital Manila, to escape massive flooding.

Most shools on the main island of Luzon remained closed for a second day as a huge mopping-up operation began. Some public offices have reopened.

"Some of our things are buried in mud, it will take awhile to clean up," a resident in Marikina City told Reuters while clearing up layers of mud and debris inside their residence.

Fung-Wong, with winds of 95km/h and gusts of 120km/h, slammed in the northern tip of the Philippines on Friday, cutting power in many areas and soaking rice and corn farms and bringing the capital to a near standstill.

The storm, travelling north at 15km/h, is expected to hit the Taiwan on Monday, according to the state weather bureau.

Fung-Wong, locally known as "Mario" centre is currently around 137 km northeast of Laoag City in the Ilocos province in the north. It was expected to be at 647 kms north of Batanes on Monday, outside the Philippine area of responsibility.

Alexander Pama, executive-director of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, said five people died, including a two-year-old girl who drowned in the capital. Two were electrocuted while wading in flood waters.

Pama said seven people were injured and one more was still missing in floods.

A boat capsized in the central Philippines but all 53 crew and passengers were rescued by the navy, Pama said.

Officials have declared a state of calamity in some areas in the capital and in Cebu City in the central Philippines due to floods, that have left some parts of the city two metres underwater.

Trading on the city's stock exchange and local currency market was suspended on Friday and will resume on Monday. At least 40 domestic flights were grounded and six international flights were diverted by civil aviation authorities.

More than 700 000 people were affected by the storm and about 200 000 people were forced out from their homes and staying in shelter areas, disaster officials said.

Pama said some residents were rescued perching on their roofs or trapped inside their homes in Marikina and Quezon City. More than 300 areas in seven regions in the country were flooded.

Tropical storms regularly hit the Philippines, with Fung-Wong the second to hit in two weeks.

Last year, typhoon Haiyan struck in the central Philippines, killing more 6 300 people. An average of 20 typhoons hit the country every year.

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