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Philippines: Tropical storm kills 3 before landfall

Staff Writer |
As Tropical Storm Urduja also known as Kai-tak was poised to make landfall on the central Philippines on Saturday afternoon or evening, on the island of Samar, at least three people were reportedly killed, four injured, and several others missing.

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In a bulletin early Saturday, the state weather bureau raised storm warnings for eight areas in the country, including Albay, Sorsogon, Masbate, Northern Samar, Eastern Samar, Samar, Biliran, and Leyte.

In a press briefing in the capital Manila, Ricardo Jalad, head of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), was quoted by local media as saying that fatalities include a fisherman and 2-year-old who drowned, and another person who was buried in a landslide.

Jalad added that the number of people killed is still being validated in light of other initial reports of six missing persons -- three from the Eastern Samar province, and three due to a landslide in the town of Biliran in the Leyte province.

Four were also reported injured in landslides in Biliran and the city of Tacloban, and at least 8,800 families were evacuated to at least 141 evacuation centers.

The storm’s strong winds and heavy rainfall have also downed power and communication lines across the Central Philippines.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Coast Guard, in a Saturday advisory, said that 11,101 boat passengers were stranded, and at least 1,322 vessels, 52 rolling cargoes, and 33 motor bancas cancelled their trips at various seaports nationwide.

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