Philippines Braces for Storms as Deaths From South Floods Rise

The Philippines issued its second-highest storm alert for seven northern provinces in the main island of Luzon, prompting schools to shut as deaths from floods and landslides south of the country rose.

Typhoon Nari, with maximum winds of 130 kilometers per hour and gusts of up to 160 kilometers per hour, is expected to hit the provinces of Aurora and Isabela this evening, the weather bureau said in its latest bulletin. Rainfall from typhoon, locally known as Santi, is likely heavy to intense, while another storm is expected to enter the country over the weekend, forecaster Aldczar Aurelio said in a televised briefing.

Eight local flights were canceled, the transportation department said in its official Twitter account. About 460 passengers are stranded in Albay province’s port, the disaster monitoring agency said on its website, while schools were shut in provinces where storm alerts were raised.

Floods and landslides in the islands of Visayas and Mindanao in the five days to Oct. 8 killed as many as 20 people, the disaster monitoring agency said. Six of those killed were from Zamboanga City, where more than 200 people died in September after three weeks of clashes between the military and members of a Muslim renegade group.

In August, monsoon rains swamped as much as 60 percent of the Philippine capital and nearby provinces, shutting financial markets for two days and suspending work and schools. The Philippines, regularly battered by cyclones, topped a list of 10 countries most affected by natural disasters in 2012, with 2,360 deaths, according to a report by Brussels-based Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters.

Storm warning signal number 3, the second-highest in a four-level alert system, is raised in seven provinces in Luzon island, the weather bureau said. Fourteen provinces are under signal number 2, while Manila and nearby provinces are under the lowest alert level, it said. Flooding in low-lying areas in Manila is possible, the agency said.

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