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Typhoon triggers evacuations in Philippines

Written by: Staff
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MANILA, May 12 (Reuters) Typhoon ''Chanchu'' triggered evacuations in the central Philippines today as flooding and strong winds shuttered ports and caused a small landslide close to where a community was devastated by a huge mudslide in February.

About 1,000 people in six villages in Sogod town on Leyte island were cut off because of the small landslide but there were no reports of casualties.

''It was very close to Agas Agas where the landslide of Feb.

12 took place,'' Rosette Lerias, governor of Southern Leyte, told Reuters. ''There were no houses in the area of the landslide.'' Sogod is about 25 km from what was once the farming village of Guinsaugon but which is now a mass grave after nearly 1,000 people were entombed there under metres of mud following weeks of heavy rain.

''Chanchu'', with gusts of up to 130 kph (81 mph), was moving north and residents living along coastal areas in the Bicol region have been evacuated.

''We have started the pre-emptive evacuation in coastal areas. We are worried that strong winds will wash away their houses when the storm surges,'' Office of Civil Defence Bicol director Arnel Capili told local radio.

More than 3,500 people were stranded in ports and Capili said almost all provinces in the Bicol region were without electricity after some power plants were shut down as a precaution.

About 20 typhoons hit the Philippine archipelago each year, seven of which cross the country, mostly during the rainy season.

REUTERS SI RK0825

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