Image: Flooded street
Aaron Favila  /  AP
Filipinos prop up a statue of the Virgin Mary as they cross floodwaters in Malabon, Philippines, on Thursday.
updated 6/26/2009 8:33:27 AM ET 2009-06-26T12:33:27

Tropical Storm Nangka has left at least 18 people dead or missing and destroyed hundreds of homes, the government disaster agency said, as it blew away from the Philippines Friday and headed toward the Taiwan Strait.

In addition to the 11 confirmed fatalities and seven people reported missing, five others were injured when the storm caused floods and landslides and overturned boats as it swept through the central Philippines, the National Disaster Coordinating Council said.

The weather bureau said the storm was packing winds of 40 miles per hour and gusts of up to 50 mph over the South China Sea as it left Philippine territory early Friday.

It forecast Nangka would be about 230 miles west of Taiwan, over the Taiwan Strait, by Saturday.

Coast guard chief Adm. Wilfredo Tamayo said the nearly 10,000 people who had been stranded on ferries and motorized outriggers at the height the storm have all resumed their voyages after the weather bureau lifted all storm warnings.

Nangka's fierce winds combined with floodwaters and huge waves destroyed 758 houses and damaged 6,665 others in coastal villages in 11 provinces. More than 43,000 people were forced to take shelter in government evacuation centers and in houses of relatives, the disaster agency said.

Among those killed by the storm were four fishermen whose boat was struck by a tornado after they had taken cover in a cove in Quezon province, about 70 miles southeast of Manila. The missing included a 4-year-old child swept away by floodwaters in central Romblon province and three fishermen off Eastern Samar province.

The storm was the sixth to hit the country this year. About 20 storms and typhoons batter the country each year.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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