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Storm Causes Floods in Philippines

November 30, 2000

MANILA, Philippines (AP) _ Heavy rain and high waves triggered by tropical storm Rumbia flooded parts of the southern Philippines on Thursday, forcing residents to flee coastal villages, officials said.

By late afternoon, the eye of the storm was over Siargao island, a popular surfing spot about 470 miles southeast of Manila. Its rain clouds had a radius of 155 miles and were affecting wide areas of Mindanao and the central Philippines, officials said.

The storm was packing winds up to 84 mph and was moving toward the northwest. It was expected to pass close to Surigao City on Thursday night and near central Cebu City by Friday morning.

The weather bureau posted high storm alerts for at least 16 provinces. It warned residents in affected areas of possible flash floods and landslides.

The Office of Civil Defense said electricity has been knocked out in all of Surigao City, and power outages were reported in neighboring areas.

Nine towns were flooded in northern Mindanao, the office said. It said at least 1,640 people were forced to flee their homes by rising floodwaters and big waves that threatened coastal villages in the region. Elsewhere, more than 1,500 passengers waiting for ferry rides from the main island of Luzon to central Philippine islands were stranded after authorities halted ferry services.

An average of 20 tropical storms and typhoons hit the Philippines yearly.

Earlier this month, Typhoon Bebinca left 43 people dead and forced more than 630,000 people to flee their homes to escape floodwaters in metropolitan Manila and 14 northern provinces. A week earlier, Typhoon Xangsane swept through the northern Philippines and left 40 people dead and 66 missing.

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