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At least 20 dead as storms lash Philippines

Second devastating typhoon already on its way

At least 20 dead as storms lash Philippines

Floowaters inundate a Catholic chapel in the town of Tungawan in Mindanao (photo by John Luis Guades) reporter, Manila

October 11, 2013

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At least 20 people have died and some 87,000 have been displaced because of severe flooding, authorities said on Friday.

The national disaster office has warned that the number of casualties will rise as another strong typhoon makes its way across the northern part of the country.

Authorities placed 14 provinces and the capital Manila on storm alert, closed schools and put emergency services on standby as Typhoon Nari made landfall early on Friday.

Weather forecasters are also tracking another storm that is expected to hit the Philippines on Sunday

Authorities have advised residents in low-lying and mountainous areas to be on alert for possible flash floods and landslides.

The national disaster office said it is preparing to evacuate thousands of residents from coastal towns, including Manila.

Manila has been hit hard by floods in recent days, partly blamed on poor infrastructure and clogged drains and canals.

The Philippines gets lashed by around 20 major storms every year.

About 30 people died last month in flash floods triggered by monsoon rains.

Bad weather forced US Secretary of State John Kerry to call off a scheduled trip to the country on Friday.

Kerry, who was in Brunei this week for an ASEAN meeting, on Thursday said he was advised to postpone the trip.

In Zamboanga City, where some 120,000 people were displaced by fighting between government troops and Moro rebels, some 17,000 people in flood-prone areas have been evacuated.

Displaced residents from at least 25 villages affected by the floods have sought shelter in evacuation centers around the city.

The Philippines ranks third among 173 countries on the World Risk Index as most at risk from natural disasters.

Its geographic location and geology renders the country vulnerable to natural hazards like earthquakes, floods and typhoons.

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