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Storm moves away from Philippines, leaves 22 dead

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    A highway patrol officer directs the traffic as motorists negotiate a flooded portion of a highway at suburban Makati city, east of Manila, in the Philippines Sunday following a heavy downpour spawned by tropical storm Aere.
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    A Filipino man reinforces his makeshift home at a fish port in Navotas, north of Manila, Philippines on Monday May 9, 2011. Tropical storm Aere threatened the Philippines' agricultural north Monday after pummeling the eastern coast and the capital with fierce winds and rain that sparked floods and landslides, officials said.(AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    A man hides behind a post as strong waves batter Manila's bay, Philippines, Monday May 9, 2011. Tropical storm Aere threatened the Philippines' agricultural north Monday after pummeling the eastern coast and the capital with fierce winds and rain that sparked floods and landslides, officials said. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    A Filipino girl carries a baby as strong winds blow at a temporary relocation area in Navotas, north of Manila, Philippines on Monday May 9, 2011. Tropical storm Aere threatened the Philippines' agricultural north Monday after pummeling the eastern coast and the capital with fierce winds and rain that sparked floods and landslides, officials said. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    In this photo released by the Philippine Naval Forces Southern Luzon, a Disaster Response and Rescue Team member holds a child as they evacuate families at an area flooded by Tropical Storm Aere in Libon town, Albay province, eastern Philippines on Monday May 9, 2011. 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. (AP Photo/Philippine Naval Forces Southern Luzon) NO SALES
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    A Filipino woman sips hot coffee to keep her warm at her makeshift home that was damaged due to strong winds in Navotas, north of Manila, Philippines on Monday May 9, 2011. Tropical storm Aere threatened the Philippines' agricultural north Monday after pummeling the eastern coast and the capital with fierce winds and rain that sparked floods and landslides, officials said.(AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
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Photo Gallery: Tropical Storm Aere hits Philippines

MANILA, Philippines >> A tropical storm caused at least 22 deaths in the Philippines but largely spared northern agricultural regions where farmers welcomed the rain, officials said.

Disaster officials had feared Tropical Storm Aere would barrel through provinces during planting season and set off flash floods and landslides. After slamming Catanduanes province Sunday, the storm weakened and just grazed the northeastern seaboard, bringing rain to farmland scorched by the summer heat.

“It’s a welcome relief for the farmers,” regional disaster response official Norma Talosig said by telephone Tuesday from northern Cagayan province, where planting for rice, corn and peanuts has begun.

Still, disaster officials warned villagers to stay away from mountainous areas prone to landslides and from low-lying areas that could be swamped by flash floods, especially in the northernmost province of Batanes. Fishermen and ferry operators at the tip of northern Luzon island were advised to keep their boats ashore.

The weather bureau said Aere was about 118 miles (190 kilometers) northeast of Batanes late Tuesday as it pushed toward southern Japan with sustained winds of 40 miles (65 kilometers) per hour.

Officials in Taiwan have cautioned residents in the eastern and southern parts of the island of possible torrential rain.

Aere caused at least 22 deaths in the Philippines since Sunday, officials said. A 66-year-old man remained missing in eastern Albay province.

Office of the Civil Defense officer Ronaldo Flores said damage to rice, corn and other crops and livestock was estimated at $2.8 million (117.8 million pesos) in the eastern Bicol region alone.

Nearly 210,000 people were affected by the storm, with 6,400 housed in evacuation centers.

Aere was the second tropical storm to batter the Philippines this year. About 20 typhoons and storms lash the country annually.

 

 

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