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Philippine storm kills 11 people, threatens north

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MANILA >> Disaster officials warned villagers in the Philippines’ agricultural north to be on guard for landslides and flash floods Monday as Tropical Storm Aere carved a deadly path across the country.

Aere has left 11 people dead since it slammed into eastern Catanduanes province early Sunday with winds of 53 miles per hour and gusts of 62 mph (100 kph). It triggered landslides and knocked out power in some areas, while also roughing up Manila Bay and rattling nerves overnight in the congested capital.

By Monday it was roaring toward provinces on northern Luzon Island, gradually losing strength.

Officials warned villagers to stay away from mountainous areas prone to landslides and low-lying communities that could be swamped by flash floods. Fishermen and ferries in the storm’s path were advised to stay ashore.

“We’re advising residents in high-risk areas to pre-emptively evacuate before the storm hits,” said Chito Castro, spokesman for the government’s disaster-response agency.

The 11 dead included three people who perished Sunday in a house that was buried by a landslide in Camarines Sur province’s Balatan township. Six people have drowned in the provinces of Albay, Catanduanes, Leyte, Northern Samar and Camarines Sur. Elsewhere, a man was electrocuted in a flooded community and another died in a truck accident amid stormy weather.

An Albay fisherman who sailed out Sunday has been listed as missing.

Aere has caused more than 50 domestic and international flights to be canceled or diverted. President Benigno Aquino III delayed his flight home from a regional summit in Indonesia by a day, to Monday, due to the weather.

Aere, the second storm to batter the Philippines this year, is expected to blow away from the country on Thursday and possibly move toward Taiwan. Officials there issued a sea warning and cautioned residents on the eastern and southern parts of the island to watch out for torrential rain later Monday.

About 20 typhoons and storms lash the Philippines each year.


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