10 dead as typhoon Morakot hits Philippines

MANILA, Aug. 7 (Xinhua) — At least 10 people — including three French tourists — were killed in flood and landslides caused by typhoon Morakot (locally known as “Kiko”) in the northern Philippines, the authorities said on Friday.

The French nationals, two men and a woman, were found Friday morning drowned along a river in the province of Tarlac, said Glenn Rabonza, executive officer of the Philippine National Disaster Coordinating Council. Government officials earlier identified two of the dead as Canadians but later said they were mistaken.

The tourists were swept away in a flashflood along the O’Donnel River Thursday afternoon amid strong rains.
The victims, among others, went there for a trek to Mount Pinatubo’s crater. Pinatubo is a volcano about 90 kilometers north of Manila on the Philippine island of Luzon. The volcano erupted in June 1991 after more than five centuries of slumber. The O’ Donnel River is fed by Mount Pinatubo’s watersheds and snakes down30 kilometers before draining to another river in the lowland.
With the three French nationals, two Filipino tourist guides –who tried to rescue their guests– were also killed in the flood.
Six other French tourists were injured, Rabonza said in a statement.
Morakot did not make a landfall in the Philippines, but gusty winds and torrential rains spawned by the typhoon triggered landslides in the northern city of Baguio, one of which crashed into a shanty house and killed three children of a family. The parents and the eldest son survived.
Two other people died in Zambales province amid the bad weather, according to the statement.
A total of 5,552 families or 28,629 persons were affected by the typhoon, some of whom have been evacuated, said the disaster-relief officer.
Chinese weather forecasters said that the strong typhoon was 180 kilometers southeast of Taiwan, China as of 10 a.m. Friday local time (0200 GMT), packing winds up to 144 kilometers per hour in the center.
It is moving at 15 kilometers per hour northwestward, and is expected to hit Taiwan Friday evening, and would land in northern Fujian and central Zhejiang sometime from Saturday afternoon to Sunday morning.

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