Power back after typhoon kills 26 in Philippines

MANILA, Philippines – Electricity was restored in the Philippine capital, flights resumed and schools reopened Thursday after the first typhoon of the season killed at least 26 people and plunged most of the main northern island into darkness.

Thirty-eight people remained missing, mostly fishermen caught by Typhoon Conson’s fury at sea.

Electricity was restored to most of Manila and nearby provinces after Conson, packing winds of 75 miles (120 kilometers) per hour, slammed ashore late Tuesday and early Wednesday, toppling power lines, downing trees and ripping off roofs and tarpaulin billboards.

Flights at the Manila international airport also resumed and schools reopened.

Heavy rains, unrelated to the typhoon, have also wreaked havoc in China and Japan. The death toll from rain-triggered landslides rose to 41 in western China, and workers raced to drain overflowing reservoirs in the southeast. Flooding has killed more than 100 people in China so far this month, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

Storm in southern and western Japan left two dead and three missing.

An elderly woman drowned in a swollen river and another woman in her 70s was found buried in a landslide in Hiroshima, western Japan, according to Hiroshima police. Two women in their 70s also were missing there, as was an 82-year-old man in neighboring Shimane prefecture.

More rain was predicted Thursday in both Japan and China. Conson, which weakened into a tropical storm over the South China Sea, was forecast to make another landfall along the Chinese-Vietnamese border this weekend.

In the Philippines, many died while fleeing the typhoon’s fury, regional disaster operations officer Fred Bragas said. The 26 deaths were spread over six provinces and areas near Manila.

Newly elected President Benigno Aquino III scolded the weather bureau for failing to predict that the storm would hit Manila, which left government agencies unprepared for the onslaught.

The Philippines is hit by about 20 typhoons and storms a year, gaining a reputation as the welcome mat for the most destructive cyclones from the Pacific. Last year, back-to-back typhoons inundated Manila and outlying provinces, killing nearly 1,000 people.

Several people were killed by falling debris or electrocuted. One man drowned trying to save a dozen pigs in a swollen lake south of Manila, while his companion was swept away and is missing, Bragas said. Twenty-seven out of 30 towns in Laguna province were flooded and the governor declared a state of calamity.

A concrete wall collapsed and pinned four carpenters to death while a landslide killed a man in his house in nearby Tagaytay city. The man’s son remains missing in the landslide, Bragas said.

In Quezon province, four fishermen drowned and 18 others were rescued after huge waves and strong winds battered their motor boats as they raced toward an island to seek shelter late Tuesday, provincial Gov. David Suarez told The Associated Press.

Villagers and the coast guard have launched a search for 27 missing fishermen, he said.

Three vessels, including an LPG carrier, sank during the typhoon and most of the crew were rescued while some are missing.

Another nine fishermen were rescued after big waves overturned their boats off the island province of Catanduanes, regional military spokesman Maj. Harold Cabunoc said. The other 10 remained missing.

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