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August 21, 2014

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Philippine typhoon floods rice fields, kills 13

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Associated Press

Residents brave the raging floodwaters brought about by Typhoon Nari to get across a highway at San Ildefonso township, Bulacan province, north of Manila, Philippines, on Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013.

MANILA, Philippines — A typhoon that flooded villages and farms in the Philippines' major rice-growing region Saturday has killed at least 13 people, officials said.

Power outages affected Aurora province, where Typhoon Nari made landfall late Friday, and five nearby provinces due to downed pylons and emergency shutdowns that were intended to prevent accidents.

Nari slammed into the coast with 150 kilometer (94 mile) per hour winds and gusts of up to 185 kph (116 mph). Weather forecaster Meno Mendoza said Nari weakened after hitting the mountains in Aurora then quickly blew across the rice-growing central plains of Luzon.

More than 2,500 people were evacuated from coastal villages before the typhoon struck, said provincial disaster officer Amado Elson Egargue.

Civil defense Maj. Rey Balido said the 12 fatalities in four provinces included a man who was electrocuted, a police officer who was buried in a landslide while waiting for deployment to a rescue mission in Pampanga province, four people who drowned in floodwaters and five who were hit by falling trees. The body of a fisherman was recovered, but three others remain missing, he said.

Bulacan provincial Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said a 70-year-old man died of a heart attack when the roof of his house was blown away.

Nueva Ecija Gov. Aurelio Umali told DZMM radio that fallen trees and electric pylons blocked all the major roads in the province. He said the initial estimate was that 15,000 hectares (37,050 acres) of rice may have been damaged or destroyed.

Sy-Alvarado said more than 20 villages remained flooded Saturday, with some areas under about 2 meters (6 feet) of water. He said about 10,000 hectares (24,700 acres) of rice and vegetable farms were damaged.

A major highway in Bulacan was flooded and authorities allowed only trucks and other big vehicles to pass.

The typhoon drenched Manila overnight but caused no widespread flooding in the sprawling capital of 12 million that floods often because of poor infrastructure and clogged drainage and water canals.

Nari was the 19th storm to enter the country this year. About 20 to 22 tropical storms lash the Philippines yearly during the monsoon season from July to December.

Nari had moved over the South China Sea around noon Saturday and moving west toward Vietnam.

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