POSTED: 5:05 a.m. HST, Oct 11, 2011
LAST UPDATED: 5:54 a.m. HST, Oct 11, 2011
MANILA, Philippines>> Four children drowned and another was missing after they were swept away by a rampaging river as a new storm blew toward the Philippines, which is still recovering from back-to-back typhoons.
Office of Civil Defense Administrator Benito Ramos said the five children were crossing the rain-swollen river as they rushed home from school Monday in Barotac Viejo town in Iloilo province and were swept away by the current.
Villagers recovered the bodies of four of the children, including three siblings, on Tuesday and were still searching for the fifth child, Ramos said.
Iloilo and outlying central provinces have been pounded by heavy rains for two days due to a tropical depression, which strengthened Tuesday into a storm off the country’s southeastern coast.
The storm, named Banyan, was expected to make landfall in southern Leyte province on the country’s eastern coast on Wednesday. It may barrel northwestward near the capital, Manila, on Thursday before blowing out into the South China Sea, forecaster Raymond Ordinario said.
Several southern and central towns reported knee- to waist-deep floods Tuesday, officials said.
Two typhoons lashed the northern Philippines two weeks ago, leaving more than 100 people dead, displacing hundreds of thousands of others and destroying large amounts of farmland and infrastructure.
Banyan is the 18th weather disturbance to hit the disaster-prone Philippines this year. About 21 typhoons and storms batter the country each year.