3 dead, 3 missing as typhoon lashes Philippines

Updated: 2006-12-10 17:02

MANILA, Philippines -- Typhoon Utor lashed the central and eastern Philippines, killing three people including a toddler and forcing nearly 70,000 people to flee to evacuation centers, officials said Sunday.

Some 59,000 people in an area devastated by a powerful typhoon that unleashed mudslides last week in eastern Albay province, and another 7,750 people from the central provinces of Cebu, Leyte and Southern Leyte, had to flee to evacuation centers, the National Disaster Coordinating Council reported.

Typhoon Utor made landfall in the town of Guiuan in Eastern Samar province at noon Saturday. As of Sunday the eye of the storm was located 50 kilometers (30 miles) east of Occidental Mindoro province's San Jose city, packing sustained winds of 120 kilometers (75 miles) per hour and gusts of up to 150 kph (93 mph), the weather bureau said.

San Jose is 250 kilometers (155 miles) south of Manila.

The typhoon's path was just south of the eastern Bicol region, where more than 1,000 people were killed or left missing after Typhoon Durian struck last week.

Utor caused power outages and telephone lines to go down in many areas in the central Philippines including Cebu, Leyte and the popular island resort of Boracay, officials said.

More than 8,000 ferry and bus passengers were stranded in various ports of central Philippines, the NDCC added.

A fallen tree killed a child in central Tacloban city where another child was hurt, said Office of Civil Defense regional director Adriano Puego said. In nearby Leyte province's Tanauan town a 13-year-old girl was injured when a tree was uprooted and fell on her, he added.

In central Capiz province, a 1-year-old girl was pinned to death when a tree fell on their house while her 29-year-old mother survived and is in a hospital, OCD regional director Rose Cabrera said. Three other people feared to have drowned in floods remain missing in the province, she added.

Superintendent William Macavinta, provincial police chief of Aklan province, said a boat operator from Boracay was killed after his vessel capsized. He said officials were checking reports of other people missing from the port town of Caticlan across Boracay.

There were no immediate reports of mudslides or casualties in Albay due Typhoon Utor, said Jukes Nunez, a disaster relief official. Typhoon Durian last week unleashed tons of rocks and other volcanic debris from the slopes of Mayon volcano, Albay's most famous landmark, sending walls of mud and boulders on helpless villages.

Utor is moving in a northwest direction and is expected to pass close to Coron town in western Palawan island by Sunday night before it exits the Philippine through the South China Sea by early Tuesday, the weather bureau said.

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