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Fears Philippines typhoon death toll may rise

Shirley Escalante in Manila and staff, Tuesday August 13, 2013 - 13:03 EST

Emergency officials in the Philippines are assessing the extent of damage caused by Typhoon Utor, after it flattened houses, caused flash flooding and triggered landslides in the country's north on Monday.

Two people have died but authorities fear that number will rise.

"It looks like the death and damage toll is going to go up...with wind like this, you can expect a lot of damage," Francis Rodriguez, a senior officer with the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said.

At least 15 fishermen remain missing.

In the northern Aurora Province, rescue teams are attempting to reach villages which remain isolated after roads were blocked by landslides.

The province was the worst hit by Typhoon Utor, which authorities say was the most powerful storm to hit the Philippines this year, with wind gusts of up to 200 kilometres an hour recorded.

Power and mobile phone networks are yet to be restored, while work to clear roads blocked by fallen trees and mudslides continues.

Almost 8000 families have been displaced in 12 provinces.

Many remain in government shelters but some have returned to survey damage to their homes after floodwaters subsided.

The typhoon is now heading towards southern China and is expected to make landfall in Guangdong Province mid-week.

Meanwhile, authorities in Hong Kong are also preparing for Utor and have raised a stage one typhoon alert.

Stage 10 is Hong Kong's highest-level alert.



© ABC 2013

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