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48 Dead In Philippines Typhoon

The death toll from a powerful typhoon that cut across the northern Philippines rose Friday to at least 48 with dozens of people missing in floods and landslides as residents mounted a massive cleanup, officials said.

Financial markets, schools and government offices in the capital, Manila, remained closed for a second workday since Typhoon Xangsane slammed ashore late Wednesday.

Most of the deaths occurred in Laguna province, south of Manila, said Romeo Panisales, a provincial social welfare officer. At least 19 people were killed in landslides and flash floods in the town of Santa Rosa and another 15 in five other towns.

Another 29 people were missing in the same province.

The coast guard reported a yacht with at least six crew members was missing in Manila Bay while heading to the Manila Yacht Club from a nearby port. A crew member of another boat in Batangas province south of Manila was reported missing when it sank during the typhoon.

Among dozens of missing were at least 30 people in General Trias town, about 25 miles south of Manila, where an irrigation dike collapsed as they were watching houses washed away by raging river waters, said Walter Martinez, a local village official.

Police officer Quintin Trinidad said only one body had been recovered.

The entire northern island of Luzon, including Manila, was left without power on Thursday but electricity was restored to 36 percent of consumers by Friday morning, the state-run National Transmission Corp. reported.

The typhoon was briefly downgraded to a tropical storm as it moved toward the South China Sea heading to Vietnam, but gained strength again Friday, packing winds of 75 miles per hour and gusts of up to 93 mph, the Philippine weather bureau reported.

Vietnam prepared to evacuate thousands of people from its central coast, where the storm was expected to hit Sunday, said Bui Minh Tang, director of the national weather forecast center.

"It's as powerful as Typhoon Chanchu," he said, referring to the May storm that killed 20 Vietnamese fishermen and left more than 250 others missing.

The eye of the storm was expected to hit Danang city and the neighboring province of Quang Ngai, where authorities began collecting food, medicine and lifeboats.

Chinese state media said Friday the typhoon was likely to skirt Hainan, bringing strong winds and heavy rain to the island during the first few days of a weeklong national holiday.

In Manila and neighboring provinces, residents began the day by cleaning up toppled trees, broken branches, fallen sign posts and power pylons. Philippine marines were helping out along EDSA Highway, the city's main thoroughfare.

The capital and two other provinces declared a state of calamity to enable them to draw emergency funds.

Xangsane, the Laotian word for elephant, is the 10th typhoon this season, and the strongest to hit Manila in 11 years.

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