Five dead as typhoon slams northern Philippines

Filipinos drive past a damaged gasoline station caused by typhoon Megi in Isabela province, northern Philippines, 18 October 2010. Weather officials said typhoon Megi is the strongest storm in 2010.
Five people were killed as a powerful typhoon battered a large part of the northern Philippines Monday, triggering landslides, flash floods and widespread power outages, officials said.
Two of the victims drowned in a swollen river and stormy seas respectively, while two were hit by falling trees. The fifth was struck by lightning, police and rescuers said.
Scores were also injured in various accidents caused by Typhoon Megi, which cut communication lines in the affected provinces, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council.
More than 3 million residents in six northern provinces were left in the dark after strong winds toppled electricity poles and damaged transmission lines.
Flash floods and strong winds swept a passenger bus from a highway in Isabela province, one of the provinces worst hit by Typhoon Megi. The main provincial government building was also severely damaged.
Vicente Decena, 53, was swept away by a swollen river in Tuguegarao City in Cagayan province, 345 kilometres north of Manila, said provincial police chief Senior Superintendent Mao Aplasca.
In nearby Ilocos Sur province, rescuers recovered the body of Jeff Joshua Duque-Floreno, who was carried out to sea by the storm swell off Candon town after going for a swim in the rough seas late Sunday while drunk, police said.
The weather bureau said Megi made landfall before noon at Divilacan Peak, a part of the Sierra Madre mountain range in Isabela, packing maximum sustained winds of 225 kilometres per hour (kph) and gusts of up to 260 kph.
The storm weakened after crossing the mountains, with susteained winds of up to 180 kph and gusts of up to 215 kph, the bureau said.
More than 30 northern provinces and Manila were experiencing bad weather due to the storm.
Benito Ramos, chief of the national disaster council, said nearly 4,000 residents had been evacuated from coastal communities in Isabela and Cagayan.
Aviation officials said at least 16 domestic flights bound for the northern provinces were cancelled, leaving more than 1,000 passengers stranded across the country.
The weather bureau said Megi was forecast to move away from the northern Philippines early Tuesday and head towards southern China.

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