Philippine tropical storm kills 9 people; 100,000 residents flee from floods, landslides

MANILA, Philippines — Tropical storm Aere lashed the northeastern Philippines
on Sunday, killing at least nine people and forcing more than 100,000 villagers
to flee from farming towns threatened by landslides.

The storm slammed into Catanduanes province with winds of 53 miles (85
kilometres) per hour and gusts of 62 mph (100 kph). It triggered landslides and
floods, disrupted transportation and knocked out power in some towns.

More than 4,700 commuters were stranded in several seaports after ferries
suspended trips and roads were closed due to floods and the danger of
landslides, officials said. Several domestic flights were cancelled.

A landslide buried a house in Camarines Sur province’s Balatan township at
dawn, killing three people, including a baby, regional disaster-response
director Bernardo Alejandro said.

An elderly woman drowned trying to cross a swollen river in Daraga town in
Albay province, and a man was electrocuted in a flooded village in Libon town.
Three men drowned in Catanduanes and Leyte provinces, and a driver died in a
truck crash during stormy weather in Camarines Sur, officials said.

Authorities helped evacuate villagers Saturday in farming communities at the
base of Mayon volcano in Albay, where heavy rain threatened to turn into
mudslides. Many more fled their homes Sunday as floodwaters began to rise,
disaster-response officer Jukes Nunez said.

Tons of ash have been deposited on Mayon’s slope from past eruptions, and
mudslides caused by a typhoon in 2006 buried entire villages, leaving about
1,600 people dead and missing, Alejandro said.

“The villagers evacuated automatically, without resistance,” Alejandro told
The Associated Press by telephone. “Many still remember that disaster.”

Officials shut off power in at least four flooded Albay towns to avoid
accidents. Albay is about 212 miles (340 kilometres) southeast of Manila.

The second storm to batter the country this year is expected to blow
northwestward and exit from the country later this week, government weather
forecaster Juanito Galang said.

Lightning struck a Philippine Airlines plane at Manila’s international
airport during a thunderstorm late Saturday.

The Airbus 320 was not damaged, and the crew and passengers were not harmed,
airline spokeswoman Cielo Villaluna said. The airline flew them on another
flight to Bangkok as a precaution.

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