Image: The death toll from massive landslides and floods brought about by a typhoon in the northern Philippines climbed Sunday to nearly 300
Dennis M. Sabangan  /  EPA
Goods are transported on a makeshift cable while stranded commuters, below, walk a foot path below a collapsed highway in the town of Tuba, Benguet province near Baguio City north of Manila.
updated 10/11/2009 1:33:30 PM ET 2009-10-11T17:33:30

U.S. Marine CH-46 helicopters loaded with rice, sardines and drinking water flew Sunday into a stricken Philippine mountain city where supplies are running short after landslides triggered by a storm blocked roads and buried dozens of residents.

Three days after tons of mud and rock cascaded down hillsides in Baguio because of heavy rains, rescuers were still digging for survivors. Meanwhile, panic buying of canned goods emptied several stores in the city, and authorities were forced to ration gasoline.

"There is nearly zero gasoline supply now, and we're running low on food," city police chief Agrifino Javier told The Associated Press.

But as Tropical Depression Parma blew out late Saturday after drenching the country's north for a week, the overwhelmed government, helped by the U.S. military, was able to step up relief efforts.

More than 600 killed
Back-to-back typhoons in the past two weeks have killed more than 600 people in the northern Philippines, posing a severe test to the authorities. Hundreds of thousands are still displaced from their homes, and the damage caused runs into hundreds of millions of dollars.

Baguio lies in a swath of the north where Parma's rains have left at least 276 people dead. Some 53 of them died in Baguio, a summer tourist destination, 130 miles (210 kilometers) north of the capital Manila, known for its cool climate and winding, pine tree-lined roads.

Flooding and mudslides have blocked three key roads to the area, isolating the upland region for three days, said Marine Capt. Jorge Escatell, a U.S. military spokesman.

Police chief Javier said many foreign tourists were among those stranded.

On Sunday, four twin-rotor CH-46 helicopters flew in the supplies to Baguio. President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo also came by helicopter and ordered officials to hasten efforts to reopen the roads. One was reopened Sunday, but only partly, allowing cars but not relief trucks to pass, Philippine disaster-response agency spokesman Lt. Col. Ernesto Torres said.

In nearby Benguet province, police and volunteer gold miners pulled more bodies overnight from houses buried by mudslides late Thursday and early Friday, bringing the province-wide death toll from Parma to 175. At least 20 people remain missing, provincial police chief Loreto Espineli said.

Most of the dead were recovered in a mountainside community called Little Kibungan, where tons of mud and floodwaters buried or swept away houses as people slept.

Marsman Diang said he wept as he frantically dug into the mud Friday for his five nieces and nephews. Four were found dead, wrapped in a bedsheet. One was pulled out barely breathing and did not make it to the hospital alive.

The children's father, Diang's brother, left to work in Japan two months ago to raise money for the kids' education. He heard about their deaths in a phone call from Diang. "He couldn't talk. I heard him weeping with his wife when I called to tell them that their children were gone," Diang said.

Shortage of coffins
Apart from shortage of gasoline, the province has run out of coffins. Volunteers were busy making wooden coffins for six bodies found in Benguet's capital town of La Trinidad, Espineli said.

American and Filipino forces also fanned out in Pangasinan, a rice-producing province to its south, to help provide medical treatment. Nearly all of Pangasinan was inundated by flooding and water released from a major dam.

With large expanses of land still under water, officials said damage to agriculture and infrastructure caused by the two typhoons in the northern Philippines has reached $312 million.

In all, about 700 U.S. Marines and sailors are on land and at sea to help out with the relief effort. Before Parma struck, the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, based in Okinawa, Japan, had been helping in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Ketsana which caused the worst flooding in over 40 years in and around Manila on Sept. 26. That storm killed some 337 people in the capital and nearby provinces. More than 241,000 remain in evacuation centers.

Parma made landfall Oct. 3, then roared back and forth across the north for a week, as it reacted to Typhoon Melor that skirted the country from the Pacific Ocean, chief government forecaster Nathaniel Cruz said.

"During the first pass, Parma brought winds, nothing happened and some people thought the worst was over," Cruz said. "Then it returned with heavy rains and many were devastated."

The Philippines has been lashed with 17 typhoons and storms so far this year and about three more are expected, according to Cruz.

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

Photos: Philippines hit by more slides, flooding

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  1. A relative grieves during the burial of landslide victims in Baguio, Philippines on Monday Oct. 12. Driving rain on the heels of back-to-back storms triggered dozens of landslides across the northern Philippines, burying hundreds of people, washing away villages and leaving almost an entire province under water. (Aaron Favila / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Stranded commuters walk a foot path below a collapsed highway in the town of Tuba, north of Manila on Monday. (Ted Aljibe / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. A family looks out from their flooded home in Pungo village in northern Philippines on Monday. (Kin Cheung / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Demolished homes lie in the aftermath of a landslide that took place in La Trinidad near the mountain resort city of Baguio in northern Philippines on Monday. (Bullit Marquez / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. U.S. Marines and Filipino police officers help unload supplies for victims at Baguio airport in northern Philippines, Sunday, Oct. 11. (Kin Cheung / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Flood victims walk through mud in the town of Rosales, Philippines, on Saturday, Oct. 10. (Francis R. Malasig / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Jenelyn Tabigni of Rosales sits beside the lifted coffin of her mother, as her husband clears mud from their home on Saturday. (Francis R. Malasig / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Residents of the town of San Manuel panic Saturday upon hearing rumors that a nearby dam had cracked. Water has had to be discharged from several dams, but none have collapsed, at least so far. (Mike Alquinto / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. A displaced family in Rosales cooks outside on Saturday. (Francis R. Malasig / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. People attempt to salvage building materials from a house in Rosales on Saturday. (Str / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Residents wade through a flooded street in Dagupan City on Saturday. (Ted Aljibe / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. A man in Dagupan City on Saturday used this homemade catamaran to get around. (Bullit Marquez / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. A power outage in Rosales early Saturday added to the misery there. (Aaron Favila / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Stranded people in Pangasinan province wave for help on Friday. It was not known if they were rescued. (Roj Vidallo / PAF / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. A rescuer evacuates a child from a flood-affected area in rural Pangasinan on Friday. (PAF / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. A woman holds on as she's rescued from floodwaters in Rosales, Philippines, on Friday. (Mike Alquinto / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. This town in Pangasinan province, north of Manila, was completely swamped on Friday. (Philippine Coast Guard / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Several people took shelter inside this restaurant in Rosales on Friday, waiting for floodwaters to recede. (Mike Alquinto / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
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    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

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    A rescuer carries the body of a child who died in a landslide in Baguio City, northern Philippines, on Friday. (EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. A man clears mud from an alley Friday in Montalban, north of Manila. (Pat Roque / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. Flood victims in Taytay wait for emergency food supplies on Thursday as soldiers try to keep order. (Francis R. Malasig / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. Crews in raincoats clear vehicles along a flooded mountain road in La Trinidad, northern Philippines, on Thursday. (AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. Flood victims take shelter at a gymnasium in Pasig, east of Manila, on Wednesday. (Dennis M. Sabangan / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. Residents of Santa Cruz, south of Manila, wade through floodwaters on Sunday. (Dennis M. Sabangan / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  25. A typhoon survivor breaks into tears as she attends a mass for flood victims in Bagong Silangan, north of Manila, Philippines on Sunday. (Aaron Favila / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  26. Sick children recuperate in a makeshift hospital as other evacuees line up to receive relief supplies (background) at an evacuation center in San Pedro, south of Manila, on Saturday. (Bullit Marquez / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  27. A child sits on mud in a town west of Manila on Friday, the same day the Philippines declared a nationwide state of calamity as a "super typhoon" bore down on the embattled nation. (John Javellana / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  28. Residents travel along floodwaters in Taytay township, east of Manila, after Typhoon Ketsana brought the worst flooding in more than 40 years. (Bullit Marquez / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  29. Filipino army soldiers try to calm the crowd waiting for relief distribution in devastated area in Taytay town as government relief agencies were taking advantage of the lull in bad weather to rush relief supplies to more than 3 million people affected by Ketsana. (Dennis M. Sabangan / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  30. Cambodian victims of Typhoon Katsana wait for aid from the Red Cross, in Kampong Thom province, north of Phnom Penh, on Oct. 2. The storm caused the most destruction in the Philippines but also hit Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. (Tang Chhin Sothy / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  31. Flooding in the central province of Quang Nam taken from a military helicopter carrying relief aid to central Vietnam on Oct. 1. Vietnam intensified efforts to get food and water to stranded victims of Typhoon Ketsana. (Hoang Dinh Nam / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  32. A public transport boat loaded with people and motorbikes floats across floodwater brought by Typhoon Ketsana in Kampong Thom province, Cambodia, on Oct. 1. (Tang Chhin Sothy / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  33. Filipino evacuees beg for relief goods in Taytay, Rizal province, on Oct. 1. Reports of blocking and stoning of convoys bringing goods for victims prompted authorities to order police and military forces to secure relief missions. (Francis R. Malasig / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  34. Filipinos duck under the edge of a barge that was swept ashore by flooding brought by tropical storm Ketsana in Marikina, an eastern suburb of Manila, on Sept. 30. (Noel Celis / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  35. Cambodian military police officers carry coffins loaded with bodies of villagers who died during Typhoon Ketsana at Teuk Mileang village, in Sandan district, about 155 miles north of Phnom Penh, on Sept. 30. (Heng Sinith / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  36. Filipino flood survivors line up for free medicine at an overcrowded evacuation centre in Manila on Sept. 30. (Jay Directo / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  37. A woman weeps near the bodies of people killed by Typhoon Ketsana at Sandane district of Cambodia on Sept. 30. (Chor Sokunthea / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  38. Filipinos salvage belongings on rafts through waist-deep floodwaters in devastated area caused by Storm Ketsana in Landayan village in San Pedro town, Laguna province, south of Manila, Philippines on September 30. (Dennis M. Sabangan / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  39. A Filipino flood survivor rests at an overcrowded evacuation centre in Manila on September 30. (Jay Directo / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  40. People transport a motorcycle by using a boat down a flooded street in the pouring rain as Typhoon Ketsana passes through the central Vietnamese city of Hue on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2009. Typhoon Ketsana killed at least 32 people in Vietnam when it slammed into the country after wreaking devastation in the Philippines three days previously. (Hoang Dinh Nam / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  41. A couple rides a motorcyle in the pouring rain outside the city of Hue as Typhoon Ketsana passes through central Vietnam on Tuesday. (Hoang Dinh Nam / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  42. This aerial photograph on Sept. 29 shows the town of Angono just east of Manila, still covered with floodwaters three days after tropical storm Ketsana hit the country, pouring a month's worth of rain in just nine hours. (Jay Directo / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  43. Flooding victims scamper for relief supplies being airdropped by air force helicopter crewmen at San Mateo township, Rizal province, east of Manila. (Rogel Vidallo / Philippine Air Force via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  44. Filipino flood survivors reach out for relief goods distributed by the local government in Marikina, an eastern suburb of Manila. (Noel Celis / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  45. A young child is squeezed in a line waiting for emergency food at a hospital in eastern Manila, Philippines. (Wally Santana / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  46. A girl rests on top of her belongings inside an evacuation center in suburban Quezon City, north of Manila, Philippines. (Pat Roque / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  47. Debris hangs on a destroyed building next to a giant statue and restaurant boat swept away along the Marikina river outside Manila. (Ted Aljibe / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  48. A resident stands next to giants shoes on top of a swept away barge along the Marikina river. (Ted Aljibe / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  49. A Filipino victim of Typhoon Ketsana cries as she holds her child in an evacuation center in Quezon City, eastern Manila, Philippines on Sept. 28. (Alanah M. Torralba / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  50. Filipinos help each other in pulling a house that was uprooted by floods caused byTyphoon Ketsana in Quezon City, eastern Manila, Philippines on Sept. 28. (Alanah M. Torralba / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  51. A Filipino carries a Catholic statue from inside a damaged church in Marikina City, northeastern Manila, Philippines on Sept. 28. (Rolex Dela Pena / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  52. A relative reacts after confirming the identity of a loved one who was killed from the floods brought on by the rains of Typhoon Ketsana, locally known as Ondoy, inside a morgue in the town of Tanay, Rizal east of Manila on Sept. 28. (John Javellana / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  53. A Filipino looks out from a damaged tailoring shop amidst debris washed to the streets by floods in Marikina City, northeastern Manila, Philippines on Sept. 28. (Rolex Dela Pena / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  54. A man takes a break from cleaning a house swamped by flash floods brought on by Typhoon Ketsana in a middle class residential neighborhood in Marikina city east of Manila on Sept. 28. (Erik De Castro / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  55. Residents wait for rescuers at a building during flooding caused by Typhoon Ondoy in Cainta Rizal, east of Manila Sunday, September 27. Manila was blacked out and airline flights were suspended as a powerful typhoon battered the main Philippines island of Luzon, disaster officials said. (Erik De Castro / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  56. Rescuers from the Philippine Navy carry a victim of flash floods caused by Typhoon Ondoy at Provident Village in Marikina City, Metro Manila. (Cheryl Ravelo / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  57. Filipinos sleep on chairs at an evacuation center in a public school in Marikina City, eastern Manila. At least 80 people were killed and some 70,000 famililes displaced when tropical storm Ketsana swept the country's capital. (Alanah M. Torralba / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  58. Filipinos are drenched in mud as they try to recover belongings from damaged riverside homes in San Mateo, Rizal province in northeastern Manila, Philippines. (Rolex Dela Pena / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  59. Motorists drive by vehicles lined up along a road after flash floods caused by Typhoon Ondoy hit Provident Village in Marikina City, Metro Manila. (John Javellana / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  60. Commuters wade through waist-deep floodwaters after heavy rains dumped by Tropical Storm Ketsana (locally known as Ondoy) on Saturday, Sept. 26, in Manila, Philippines. (Bullit Marquez / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  61. A victim of floodings is rescued in Pasig City, east of Manila. Authorities rushed rescue and relief to thousands of people who spent the night on the roofs of their submerged houses in Manila and surrounding provinces. (Francis R. Malasig / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  62. Some people clamber on utility cables to stay above floodwaters while others wade neck-deep in Cainta Rizal, east of Manila. (Erik De Castro / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  63. A boy is lifted onto the roof of a building to escape the flooding in the Quezon City suburban of Manila. Nearly a month's worth of rain fell in just six hours Saturday, triggering the worst flooding in the Philippine capital in 42 years, which stranded thousands on rooftops in the city and elsewhere. (Jay Directo / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  64. Residents cross a flooded street with the use of a rope in Quezon City. (Fernando Sepe / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  65. Thousands of people in the Philippine capital and nearby towns were marooned by flash floods after a strong tropical storm hit the main island of Luzon, disaster officials said. (Romeo Ranoco / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  66. Residents wait to be evacuated from a partially submerged house during flooding in Bocaue, north of Manila. (Erik De Castro / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  67. A Philippine Air Force aerial shot shows damaged houses in Marikina City, Metro Manila. More than 70 people were killed, Manila was blacked out and airline flights were suspended as a powerful tropical storm battered the main Philippines island of Luzon. (Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  68. Residents are evacuated by police boats during flooding in Cainta Rizal, east of Manila. (Erik de Castro / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  69. An aerial view aboard a Philippine Air Force chopper shows devastation brought by Tropical Storm Ketsana in Cainta, province of Rizal, eastern Manila. (Dennis M. Sabangan / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  70. Aida De Leon grieves in Pasig City, east of Manila. (Francis R. Malasig / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  71. People are stranded in Cainta, province of Rizal, eastern Manila. (Dennis M. Sabangan / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
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