Asia-Pacific

Tropical storm Nock-ten lashes Philippines

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Media captionAlbay province saw streets submerged in severe flooding

A powerful storm has hit the Philippines, killing at least nine people and forcing thousands to flee their homes.

Tropical storm Nock-ten unleashed floods and landslides along eastern areas of Luzon island.

Evacuations are continuing as floods are reported to have deluged the houses of about 500,000 people.

The storm hit Camarines Norte province earlier with gusts of 56mph (90 km/h) and is moving north-westwards.

A regional disaster-response official described it as the province's worst flooding in five years.

Army troops and coast guard personnel were being deployed to rescue people stranded on rooftops, said Bernardo Alejandro, adding that a main road was blocked by floodwaters and mudflows.

In Albay province, Governor Joey Salceda said fatalities there included three children killed in a landslide in a mountainside village, while two men were struck by a falling tree.

As the rains started overnight, many people tried to reach safer areas, including churches and village halls, he said.

"Many of our towns seemed like islands. They were isolated from each other," Mr Salceda was quoted by the Associated Press as saying.

Mr Salceda earlier put the number of evacuees in his province at 70,000.

The storm is expected to hit eastern Quezon province early on Wednesday then pass through the provinces of Bulacan and Pampanga just north of the Philippine capital.

Schools have been closed in Manila and nearby provinces, and about 20 local flights have been cancelled.

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