Tropical Storm Chata'an: Death toll rises to 15 in heavy rains in Philippines

Manila (dpa) - The death toll from heavy monsoon rains that battered the Philippines over the weekend has risen to 15, a disaster relief agency said Monday.

While skies have cleared and floodwaters receded in most parts of the capital and nearby areas, more than 10,400 people have remained in evacuation centres.

The National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) said most of the fatalities, including three South Korean tourists, drowned or were buried in landslides.

"Three people remain missing and 29 others were injured,'' the NDCC said in a statement.

Among the missing were two other South Korean tourists whose motorised boat sank Saturday off Batangas province southwest of Manila, killing three of their companions.

The boat, carrying a total of 23 South Korean tourists and three crewmen, was on its way to Batangas city from the resort town of Puerto Galera when it was capsized by huge waves.

All schools and government offices in the capital were closed, while several roads around Manila were unpassable to light vehicles.

The NDCC said some highways in northern provinces were also temporarily closed due to landslides and floods, including the zigzag mountain road to Baguio City.

The weather bureau predicted more heavy rains due to a typhoon and a tropical depression gaining strength in the northern Philippines.

Typhoon Chataan, which worsened the monsoon rains, was detected moving northwest to the general direction of Okinawa, Japan.

Chataan was packing maximum sustained winds of 180 kilometres an hour and gusts of up to 215 kilometres an hour.

"Typhoon Chataan and the tropical depression are expected to continue to induce moderate and heavy monsoon rains,'' the weather bureau said in a statement.

It advised residents in low-lying areas, especially those near river banks, and those living in the slopes of mountains to be alert against floods and landslides.

dpa jg gl pw AP-NY-07-08-02 0027EDT

Copyright (c) 2002 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH
Received by NewsEdge Insight: 07/08/2002 00:27:48


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