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Landslides Kill 20 in Northwest Philippines

September 23, 2013

By The Associated Press

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MANILA, Philippines - Torrential monsoon rains hit the northwestern Philippines on Monday, triggering landslides and killing 20 people in areas already weakened by a powerful typhoon, and raising the death toll to 47 from storms across Asia.

Philippine officials said soldiers and villagers were also searching for at least seven people missing in mountainside villages hit by the landslides Monday in the province of Zambales.

In China, where Typhoon Usagi struck after passing by the Philippines, officials said the storm killed 25 people in the southern province of Guangdong, 13 of them in the city of Shanwei where it struck the coast late Sunday.

The other deaths came when two people drowned when a passenger boat capsized in northeastern Aurora province in the Philippines.

Subic Mayor Jeffrey Khonghun said 15 bodies were dug out in two landslide-hit villages in his town. Five people also died in landslides in two other towns in Zambales, according to army officials and police.

Rescuers used their hands, pots and shovels to dig through the muck that buried a cluster of houses while relatives of two other missing residents waited in the rain in the village of Wawandue.

"This is the first after a long time that we were hit by this kind of deluge," Khonghun told Manila`s DZBB radio network. He had to stop the interview after another body was pulled out from a muddy heap near him.

Typhoon Usagi enhanced the torrential monsoon rains that drenched the main northern Philippine region of Luzon over the weekend. The powerful typhoon blew away late Saturday and a new tropical storm off southern Japan was continuing to intensify the downpours in Luzon, government forecaster Samuel Duran said.

Many low-lying areas of the Philippine capital, Manila, and outlying regions were swamped Monday, prompting authorities to cancel classes and office work.

In Hong Kong, flight schedules were returning to normal Monday after major disruptions from Usagi, which was the season`s strongest storm at its peak. It forced about 250 flight cancellations in Hong Kong before weakening to a tropical depression over the southern Chinese province of Guangdong.

Train and airline services around Guangdong also were back to normal after the storm, China`s state broadcaster CCTV said.

China`s national weather center said the storm would continue to weaken as it moves northwest.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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Story image: A motorcycle taxi braves floodwaters south of Manilla, Phillippines Monday. (Aaron Favila, AP)

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