12 people killed in flooding, landslides in Philippines

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Manila_(dpa) _ Three French tourists and nine Filipinos were killed in flashfloods and landslides in the Philippines, bringing to 44 the number of people killed in one month of heavy rains, police and disaster relief officials said Friday.

The French tourists - two men and one woman - were among 12 foreigners who went on a trek of Mount Pinatubo volcano in Tarlac province, 90 kilometres north of Manila, on Thursday, said Senior Superintendent Rudy Lacadin, the provincial police chief.

But one of their vehicles overturned as they passed a river on the way to the volcano's crater.

Lacadin said the bodies of the three tourists were recovered Friday in Capas town. A Filipino guide and a rescue volunteer also drowned in the accident, he added.

Six French and three South Korean tourists were rescued, he added.

Officials initially identified the French tourists as Canadian, the nationality they used in registering for the trek.

Two Filipinos drowned in a separate incident of flashfloods in Tarlac province, Lacadin said.

Three brothers, aged 7 to 13, were killed in a landslide that buried their house in the northern mountain resort city of Baguio, said Alex Uy, a provincial disaster and relief official.

Uy said the brothers were asleep when the landslide occurred before dawn Friday.

Two people also drowned in flashfloods in nearby Zambales province, local officials said.

Six Chinese nationals from Hong Kong were rescued late Thursday by Philippine Coast Guard personnel after their motorized boat sank off the southern province of Batangas, an official said.

Coast Guard Lieutenant Algier Ricafrente said the Chinese nationals came from the resort island of Mindoro and were on their way to Batangas City when their vessel was battered by huge waves and strong winds.

More than 500,000 people have been adversely affected since early July by two storms and the south-west monsoon.

The weather bureau said Friday that the rains during the previous five days were triggered by Typhoon Morakot, which was moving away from the Philippines toward Taiwan, where it was expected to make landfall late Friday before continuing on to China's south-east coast.

The bureau warned residents in low-lying areas and near mountain slopes to take precautionary measures against possible flashfloods and landslides. dpa gl jg im

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