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Philippines' typhoon death toll rises to 20.

MANILA, Sept. 29 Kyodo

The death toll from one of the most powerful typhoons to hit the Philippines in recent years has climbed to 20, officials said Friday.

Typhoon Milenyo, which hit Manila on Thursday, packing winds of up to 120 kilometers per hour and gusts of up to 150 kph, has since passed over the Philippine archipelago.

The typhoon felled billboards and trees and smashed windows. It caused a blackout in most of Luzon, the country's main island, including metropolitan Manila, prompting the closure of schools and offices.

The winds also knocked down power posts and communication lines, making it difficult for disaster agencies to assess casualties in affected areas.

Schools, public buildings and financial markets remained closed Friday as electric companies tried to restore power supply.

Thousands of passengers were stranded at Manila's airport Thursday due to flight cancellations, but flights were resumed later in the day.

The typhoon, which landed in the Philippines on Monday, also left many homeless as flashfloods and landslides swept away hundreds of houses in the Manila area and provinces south of the capital.

Radio reports said authorities are still looking for about 40-50 missing residents in Cavite Province, south of Manila.

Moreover, radio reports said at least five people were killed and several students were trapped following at least three landslides in Laguna Province, also south of Manila.

The National Disaster Coordinating Council had yet to confirm the deaths reported on radio, meaning the official toll could climb.

Milenyo is the 13th typhoon to lash the country this year. The weather bureau said it was moving away Friday toward Vietnam.
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Publication:Asian Economic News
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:Oct 2, 2006
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