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Storms claim 11 in Philippines, 34 in Vietnam

Tropical Storm Pabuk churned across the Philippines Wednesday, triggering deadly landslides before it moved into southern Taiwan, where it cut power and forced schools and business to close.
Philippines Storm
A man struggles to pedal his bike on a flooded street Wednesday in suburban Makati, south of Manila, Philippines.Pat Roque / AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

Tropical Storm Pabuk churned across the Philippines Wednesday, triggering deadly landslides before it moved into southern Taiwan, where it cut power and forced schools and business to close.

The death toll from a separate, unnamed storm in Vietnam rose to 34, with 17 missing and feared dead. The tropical storm, the worst to hit Vietnam this year, was downgraded to a depression on Monday, but heavy rains continued, the national weather center said.

"It is still raining heavily in the mountains. The death toll could rise if the weather does not improve in the next few days," said Trinh Nhu Tien, a Vietnamese provincial disaster official said.

Nguyen Ngoc Giai, another provincial disaster official, said hundreds of military and police officers had been mobilized for rescue efforts, food and medicine relief.

More casualties were expected because the floodwaters were still "very, very deep," he said.

"This is the worst flood I have seen in my life," he said.

Landslides kill 11
In the Philippines, monsoon rains fed by Pabuk caused a landslide that buried seven houses and killed at least 10 people Monday in the southern gold mining town of Maco, said Glenn Rabonza, administrator of the Office of Civil Defense and government forecasters.

Another landslide buried a house and killed a 9-year-old boy in the northern mountain resort city of Baguio at dawn Wednesday, the National Disaster Coordinating Council said.

In hilly city of Antipolo east of the capital, Manila, policemen and firefighters pulled five children from rubble Wednesday after a concrete wall collapsed on their house, police Chief Superintendent Nicasio Radovan said.

The siblings, who had yelled for help from under the debris, were taken to a hospital with minor injuries, he said.

TV footage showed rescuers scrambling to lift or break a slab of concrete with sledgehammers to free one of the screaming children.

"Are you hurt?" a rescuer yelled.

"Yes, my body," a feeble voice responded from the debris.

Rescuers broke into applause after they pulled the last child from the rubble.

Heavy rains flooded many Manila streets, forcing schools to close and leaving commuters stranded, officials said.

The government announced that schools would remain closed Thursday in the capital and 13 other northern provinces. Authorities reiterated a warning to small ships to stay in port.

Floods submerged nearly all of suburban Malabon city near the capital, where water was neck deep in some low-lying neighborhoods. There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries in the city, local government spokesman Bong Padua said.

From Taiwan to southern China
Pabuk blew out of the mountainous northern Philippines and then swirled across the southern tip of Taiwan, bringing heavy rain but causing no major damage or casualties, according to Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau.

Power supplies were disrupted to 3,000 households in the southern county of Pingtung, the Central News Agency said.

Pabuk — named after a large freshwater fish in Laos — was moving northwest at 15 mph and was expected to hit Shantou in southern China's Guangdong province late Wednesday, Xinhua quoted the Fujian Meteorological Observatory as saying.

China recalled 266,000 fishermen and sailors and 50,401 fishing vessels to eastern Fujian province, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

A stronger tropical storm, Wutip, has developed east of the Philippines and was forecast to hit Fujian on Friday, the observatory said.

The rains in the Philippines followed a three-month dry spell that prompted clergy to urge congregations across the predominantly Roman Catholic country to pray for rain over the weekend.

The dry spell had led to water shortages and caused sporadic power outages in the bustling Philippine capital.