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Friday 20 April 2018

Typhoon Goni hits Japanese islands after killing 15 in Philippines

Filipinos riding on a truck take cover during rain from a monsoon that hit Manila and other parts of Asia
Filipinos riding on a truck take cover during rain from a monsoon that hit Manila and other parts of Asia

Typhoon Goni lashed the southern Japanese islands of Okinawa with heavy rains and winds, after leaving at least 15 people dead and others missing in the Philippines.

Overnight, record wind-gusts of 159mph flipped over cars on the remote Japanese island of Ishigaki, near Taiwan, Japanese media reported. A few people were cut by broken windows.

The storm, with sustained winds of 112mph, was heading north toward Japan's southernmost main island of Kyushu.

In the Philippines, Goni dumped heavy rain for three days on the mountainous north, then battered already-sodden upland villages with fierce winds, triggering landslides, officials said.

Landslides killed at least 12 people in the hard-hit mountain province of Benguet, including four gold miners who were pulled out of a huge mudslide that buried three work camps.

A dozen miners remain missing and more than 100 policemen and fellow miners dug through the muddy heap on Sunday amid fading hope that survivors would be found.

Benguet Governor Nestor Fongwan said days of pounding rain and a swollen creek saturated a mountain slope, which cascaded down the gold-mining area at dawn on Saturday.

"They were sleeping when a huge chunk of the mountain came down and buried their work sites," he said. "We're still hoping that we'll find survivors. We're still calling it a search and rescue operation."

Three people died elsewhere in the north after being hit by a landslide, a fallen tree and drowning in a river, while three others were missing after being separately swept away by river currents, according to the office of civil defence.

More than 32,000 people abandoned their homes for safer areas at the height of the typhoon, which damaged nearly 1,000 houses, said Alexander Pama, who heads the government's disaster-response agency.

Several flights and ferry trips were cancelled and classes were called off in several towns in metropolitan Manila and nearby provinces as the typhoon battered the north and intensified monsoon rains on the main northern island of Luzon.

Goni is the ninth of about 20 storms and typhoons that are expected to batter the Philippines this year.

Typhoon Haiyan, one of the most ferocious storms on record to hit land, devastated large areas of the central Philippines in November 2013, leaving more than 7,300 people dead or missing.

Press Association

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