Typhoon Megi heads for China after striking Philippines

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The BBC's Kate McGeown said information on the full extent of the damage was slowly coming through

At least 10 people have been killed in the Philippines by a typhoon which hit the north of the country on Monday.

Officials say the toll could rise; communications links are down and the full extent of damage is not known.

Typhoon Megi was the strongest to hit the Philippines for several years and caused significant damage, tearing the roofs off houses and cutting power.

It has now passed over the main island, Luzon, and is heading towards the southern coast of China.

Forecasters predict severe weather there by the weekend.

On the southern Chinese island of Hainan, the rain prompted more than 100,000 people to leave their homes over the weekend.

Typhoon Megi could also hit Vietnam, where unrelated floods have swept people away and flooded thousands of homes, killing at least 31 people, with 23 people missing.

Flash floods have also hit northern Thailand's Nakhon Ratchasima province.

Rice fears

In the Philippines, rescue teams were heading for towns in eastern Luzon where Megi made landfall.

Reports from the region said houses had been destroyed and utility poles were down, meaning many areas were without power. Many roads were said to be blocked by fallen trees.

"The waves in Maconacon were as big as houses and swamped the town plaza facing the Pacific Ocean," said Faustino Dy, the governor of hard-hit Isabela province, as he appealed for help.

Officials said severe damage had also been done to the rice crop.

The agriculture department estimated that at least 10% of the rice crop in the Cagayan valley - the second biggest production area - had been damaged.

Four people were killed on Monday in Pangasinan province, north of the capital, Manila - three were a mother and her children crushed in their house by a falling tree.

The fourth person was killed by lightning, a national Red Cross spokesman Alex Rosete said.

A storm surge in Maconacon drowned three more people, Mr Dy said.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council had earlier reported three people killed elsewhere in the north of Luzon but the details remain unclear.

But President Benigno Aquino said planning ahead of the typhoon had helped the country to escape with relatively little damage.

"The damage and loss of life could have been much greater had we not prepared for the storm," he said.

Typhoon Megi was the strongest to hit the country in four years, with its full force directed at the northern coastal provinces and the Cagayan valley.

It was a category five super typhoon with winds in excess of 250 km/h (155 mph) when it hit the east coast of north Luzon shortly before noon on Monday.

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