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Philippines: 16 dead, thousands of homes damaged in typhoon

Philippines: 16 dead, thousands of homes damaged in typhoon
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Manila: At least 16 people were killed as Typhoon Goni lashed the Philippines over the weekend, and about 13,000 shanties and houses were damaged or swept away in the eastern island province that was first hit by the ferocious storm, officials said Monday.

Goni blasted into Catanduanes province at dawn Sunday as a super typhoon with sustained winds of 225 kilometers (140 miles) per hour and gusts of 280 kph (174 mph).

But the storm weakened considerably after making landfall and shifted direction to spare the capital, Manila, before blowing out into the South China Sea.

The Office of Civil Defense said at least 16 people were killed in Catanduanes and nearby Albay province, where three others remain missing.

Catanduanes, an island province of more than 260,000 people that is often lashed by Pacific storms, was isolated after losing power and communications due to Goni and another typhoon that had hit a week earlier. But managed to connect to the outside world on Monday after disaster-response authorities flew to the devastated island with satellite phones.

Catanduanes Gov Joseph Cua and other officials said at least five people drowned and four were injured in the typhoon, which whipped up 5-meter (16-foot) storm

surges.

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