Philippines storm: 9 killed

LEGAZPI: A tropical storm set off landslides and swamped farmland in the northeastern Philippines, leaving at least 11 people dead and nine others missing, officials said Sunday.

Rescuers recovered the bodies of nine people, including two children, from piles of mud and debris that cascaded into a coastal village from a mountain in Magallanes on Saturday, burying 12 houses as residents slept, regional disaster official Bernardo Alejandro said.

Army troops, police and villagers used shovels and hands to search for nine people still missing in the area, Alejandro told The Associated Press by telephone.

A man drowned when he tried to cross a swollen creek Friday in nearby Camarines Norte province, and a fisherman drowned off Camarines as the storm began to batter the province, Alejandro said.

The storm, with sustained winds of 59 miles (95 kilometers) per hour and gusts of up to 75 mph (120 kph), was about 68 miles (110 kilometers) off the country's northeastern coast and moving toward the Pacific Ocean, government forecaster Manny Mendoza said.

In nearby Albay province, authorities moved nearly 45,000 villagers Saturday into school shelters from their houses at the foot of the Mayon volcano, fearing possible mudslides, Alejandro said.

More than 3,000 villagers were also moved from their houses in Camarines, but some returned home as the weather began to clear Sunday, he said.

About 20 typhoons lash the country each year, mostly after June. The current storm struck in the middle of the Philippine summer, an unusual occurrence that may have been caused by changing weather patterns caused by global warming, Alejandro said.