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More than 30 dead in Philippines due to slow-moving storm

December 17, 2017

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — A slow-moving storm has left more than 30 people dead and several others missing mostly due to landslides and floods and stranded thousands of holiday travelers in the central Philippines, officials said Sunday.

Sofronio Dacillo Jr., a disaster-response officer, said 26 villagers died and 23 others were missing mostly due to landslides in different areas in the island province of Biliran, where the weather has improved after Tropical Storm Kai-Tak blew over Saturday.

At least seven other people were killed in landslides and floods in four central areas due to Kai-tak, which weakened into a tropical depression but moved southwestward and picked up speed Sunday with sustained winds of 55 kilometers (34 miles) per hour, according to officials and police.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said it was trying to confirm the reported deaths caused by the storm, which forced more than 89,000 people to flee to emergency shelters. Thousands of Christmas holiday travelers were stranded due to canceled inter-island ferries and flights.

Kai-tak, known locally as Urduja, has remained almost stationary over the eastern section of the central Philippines in recent days, drenching island provinces, setting off landslides and floods and knocking out power in some areas.

President Rodrigo Duterte said he would visit the storm-hit region.

About 20 typhoons and storms, mostly from the Pacific, lash the Philippines each year, making the poor country of more than 100 million people one of the most disaster-prone in the world.

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