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Philippines recovers as storm moves on to China, Thailand and Vietnam

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 7:56 a.m. HST, Oct 4, 2011

BEIJING >> A tropical storm has hit southern China, bringing heavy winds and rain and forcing the cancellation of dozens of flights. It is the second storm to hit the area in a week.

The provincial weather office in the southern island of Hainan says Tropical Storm Nalgae made landfall on Tuesday with winds of about 55 mph.

The airport in Sanya on the southern end of the tropical island said it had been forced to cancel or postpone dozens of flights.

Hainan was lashed by Typhoon Nesat last week, leaving hundreds of thousands without power and killing three people.

The storm is now headed to Vietnam and Thailand.

In Thailand, authorities say flooding in the old Thai capital of Ayutthaya could threaten ancient Buddhist temples and have alerted residents there to be ready to evacuate.

Flooding since August has affected about 2.4 million people in a third of Thailand's provinces.

The Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department said Tuesday that 224 people have been killed.

The Agriculture Ministry estimates that about 2.48 million of the country's 22 million acres of rice fields have been damaged.

The capital Bangkok has so far been spared serious flooding, but it is under threat as waters flow down from areas to the north and Tropical Storm Nalgae brings new rains in the next few days.

In the Philippines, floodwaters slowly receded Monday in many parts of the northern Philippines after two typhoons that killed nearly 60 people, amid appeals for more boats to bring food and water to residents refusing to abandon inundated homes.

Mayor James de Jesus of worst-hit Calumpit town north of Manila said that at least 15 villages were still inaccessible and evacuation centers crowded with about 15,000 people.

As waters subsided, many residents staying on rooftops for days refused to leave their homes for fear of burglars and instead asked to be delivered food and supplies. Others who took advantage of rescue boats lined up in long lines with containers to get drinking water.

"For now we need rescue teams with rubber boats. We need to distribute food and water to the families stranded by the floods. I cannot reach all of them personally," de Jesus said in a radio interview. He also appealed for additional police to guard against looters, with some people complaining about stolen property.

"Floods are receding, but some areas remain flooded," said Bulacan provincial disaster official Raul Agustin, adding that rescuers had difficulty reaching riverside villages because of strong currents.

At least 59 people were killed by the two typhoons that hit the northern Philippines days apart last week. Typhoon Nalgae killed at least three people Saturday.

Hundreds of people have died across Southeast Asia, China, Japan and South Asia in the last four months from prolonged monsoon flooding, typhoons and storms.

In Cambodia, flash floods along the Mekong River have killed at least 150 people since August and damaged 670,000 acres of rice fields, 904 schools and 361 Buddhist temples, government disaster agency spokesman Keo Vy said Sunday.

The government in neighboring Thailand said heavy floods there have killed 206 people since August.

Four crew members died Monday and six went missing after a Panama-registered cargo vessel ran aground in heavy seas off the northern Taiwanese coast, the coast guard said. Another 11 sailors were rescued, it said.

In China, weather officials said heavy rain was expected to hit the south of the country over the next four days, with the coastal provinces of Hainan, Guangdong and Fujian the worst hit.

The National Meteorological Center said strong winds would also sweep coastal areas, and warned residents to stay indoors.

Nalgae, which was downgraded to a tropical storm, followed closely after Typhoon Nesat last week, which caused havoc in parts of southern China, flooding rivers and knocking out power lines. The strongest typhoon to hit since 2005, the official Xinhua News Agency said it affected more than 500,000 people in Hainan.

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