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Typhoon slams into Philippines: 2 dead, thousands displaced and without power

The powerful cyclone is beginning to weaken as it crosses land, but not before dumping a month's worth of rain in a day. The Philippines is no stranger to typhoons - the island nation is hit by about 20 each year.

A powerful typhoon slammed into the northeastern coast of the Philippine's main island, Luzon, on Sunday. The storm killed two people, knocked out electricity and caused nearly ten thousand people to flee their homes.

Typhoon Sarika is packing sustained winds of 80 mph (130 kmph), with gusts up to 135 mph (220 kmph)

"The roofs of some house[s] were blown away and power was cut in some areas," said Mina Marasigan, spokeswoman for the government's National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council. "Minor landslides were also reported as well as floods. We're waiting for the typhoon to blow over to conduct a fuller assessment."

The cyclone began weakening after making landfall before dawn Sunday (1830 GMT/UTC Saturday), eventually raking across mountainous terrain and sparsely populated areas in the morning, and was expected to blow out into the South China Sea by afternoon.

Strong currents and high winds

Villagers along the coast were given advanced notice to seek higher ground. Still, one man drowned when strong river currents swept him away, and a farmer died when a powerful wind slammed him to the ground head first, according to provincial safety officer Gerry Beo.

He added that three fishermen were also missing.

Philippinen Taifun Sarika (picture-alliance/dpa/F. R. Malasig)

Fishermen carry a generator; thousands have lost electricity across the Philippines

On Friday the area was drenched in a month's worth of rain, in a single day sending rivers and creeks over their banks and flooding low-lying farming villages, according to Beo. He added that about 260,000 people were without electricity across the island province of Catanduanes.

The storm forced 50 mountaineers in Bataan province to descend from Mount Tarak. But 36 others remained stranded in the highlands, according to police and firefighters who were trying to rescue them.

Nearly 200 domestic and international flights were canceled and thousands of passengers were stranded in seaports after local ferries were ordered to be docked because of the high seas.

The Philippines is no stranger to typhoons: about 20 such storms rake the island nation every year, adding to the many hardships in a country that is also threatened by earthquakes and volcanoes.

bik/kl (AP, AFP)

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