Fourth typhoon leaves 20 dead in Philippines

Philippines All Saints Day
Filipinos use umbrellas to protect them from the sun as they flock to Manila's north cemetery, Philippines, to observe All Saints Day on Sunday. The sun shone in the capital a day after a strong typhoon hit the country leaving more than a dozen people dead. Aaron Favila / AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

A tropical storm roared toward Vietnam on Sunday after battering the Philippine capital and surrounding provinces, leaving 20 people dead in a region still soggy from three recent storms.

Typhoon Mirinae weakened Sunday as it headed over the South China Sea. It was expected to strike Vietnam's central coast around noon Monday.

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung ordered residents to begin evacuating high-risk areas of five coastal provinces and ordered Vietnamese fishermen in the South China Sea to seek shelter immediately.

The two countries are still recovering from Typhoon Ketsana, which brought the Philippine capital, Manila, its worst flooding in 40 years and went on to kill more than 160 people in Vietnam in late September.

Ketsana and two later storms killed more than 900 in the Philippines. Some 87,000 people who fled the storms were still living in temporary shelters when Mirinae struck.

The latest typhoon left 20 dead, mostly from drowning, in six provinces. Four people were missing, disaster response officials said.

The storm did not keep the largely Roman Catholic country from paying respects to the dead on All Saints Day on Sunday. Huge crowds jammed cemeteries, with some people visiting still-flooded ones by boat.

In Rizal province, just east of Manila, villagers carrying flowers and candles paddled canoes into a rural cemetery that resembled a lake.

Joel Librilla thrust his hands into the waist-high waters to feel the letters on submerged tombstones in a search for his mother's grave.

"We don't know where to light our candles," Librilla told the Associated Press Television News. "But my mother should know that this is for her."

Forecasters said they were watching a low pressure area 379 miles (610 kilometers) off the country's eastern coast over the Pacific, but it was too early to tell if it will develop into yet another storm.