IMAGE: FLOODED AREA
AFP/Getty Images
This village in Isabela province was among the flooded areas Monday in the Philippines following heavy rains spawned by Typhoon Mitag.
updated 11/25/2007 5:48:24 PM ET 2007-11-25T22:48:24

A powerful typhoon that weakened into a tropical storm blew toward southern Japan on Tuesday, leaving at least 17 people dead in the Philippines, officials said.

Twenty-one other people remain missing from Tropical Storm Mitag, as another weather disturbance — Tropical Depression Hagibis — crossed Mindoro island, south of the Philippine capital of Manila, disaster relief officials and forecasters said.

Mitag weakened further as it hovered over the northern Babuyan islands with sustained winds of 40 mph and gusts of up to 50 mph. It was forecast to be 130 miles south of Okinawa, Japan by Wednesday morning.

Hagibis, which weakened from a tropical storm, blew across the southern half of Mindoro, about 100 miles south of Manila around 4 p.m. Tuesday, packing winds of up to 34 miles, the weather bureau said.

Hagibis killed 13 people in the country last week before heading for Vietnam. It reversed its position and turned back to the Philippines, complicating emergency preparations.

Fatalities from Mitag rose from 12 to 17 Tuesday, after three people were reportedly killed in western Palawan province and two men drowned in northern Cagayan province, the Office of Civil Defense reported.

Eighteen other people remain missing in Kalinga and nearby Apayao province, including two families with eight members each whose houses were washed out by landslides, said Elvira Calina, a civil defense official.

A Philippine air force jet carrying two pilots disappeared in foul weather Monday while searching for 26 Filipino crewmen whose fishing boat sank last week near the disputed Spratly islands in the South China Sea, the air force said.

Disaster relief officials said nearly 450,000 people were affected by Mitag, with more than 200,000 people moved to evacuation centers.

The typhoon flooded at least 50 villages in Isabela, a province of more than a million people. A swollen river in the provincial capital, Ilagan, engulfed at least 10 houses, officials said. Most of Isabela had no power.

In nearby Cagayan province, strong winds toppled trees and knocked down power posts, cutting off electricity in the province of nearly a million, Gov. Alvaro Antonio said. The province’s rice industry suffered losses.

“We were just one or two weeks away from harvest time. I’m afraid we’ve lost everything to the flood and strong winds,” Antonio said by telephone.

The Agriculture Department estimated losses at $2.5 million, still a fraction of the $246 million incurred during last year’s typhoons.

Mitag was the most erratic of the 13 typhoons and major storms that have hit the Philippines this year. It first headed for the populous Bicol region, where more than 250,000 people were evacuated, but shifted Saturday to the north.

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