July 26, 2011 / 10:13 AM / 8 years ago

Storm batters Philippines, 10 people dead, 5 missing

MANILA (Reuters) - Ten people died and five fishermen were missing in the central Philippines as storm Nock-Ten battered the main island of Luzon, suspending schools and grounding domestic flights and ferries, local officials said on Tuesday.

The weather bureau raised storm alert levels in nearly 30 provinces in northern Philippines as Nock-Ten gained strength and speed, bringing heavy rains, and was spotted about 50 km (31 miles) northeast of Daet, Camarines Norte on Luzon.

Many areas in the coconut-growing Albay and Camarines Sur provinces in the central Bicol region were inundated, with some areas submerged in chest-deep flood waters, said Joey Salceda, governor of Albay province in the central Philippines.

No damage to rice fields has been reported but the storm is expected to pass through a major rice production province on Wednesday.

Packing center winds of 75 kph (47 mph) and gustiness of up to 90 kph, Nock-Ten is moving west-northwest at 15 kph and is expected to make landfall early on Wednesday, said Graciano Yumul of the weather bureau, warning of floods and landslides.

Three people were buried in landslides as the volume of rainfall the local weather bureau had collected in the last 24 hours became more than the total amount of rain for the month of July, Salceda added.

Benito Ramos, executive director of National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said five fishermen were reported missing and they were still assessing damages on crop and public infrastructure.

“We need rain to fill up our dams and irrigate our farms, but too much rainfall could damage our ricelands in northern Luzon,” he added.

At least 22 domestic flights were canceled due to heavy rain and near zero visibility in central and northern Philippines. Ferry services were also halted, stranding hundreds of people.

Reporting by Manny Mogato; Editing by Yoko Nishikawa

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