Philippines: First tropical storm of the year

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The first tropical storm of the year has hit the Philippines. “Megi” has triggered flooding and landslides and has already forced more than 17,000 people to flee. At least one person was killed.

The disaster agency said that the 83-year-old drowned in the waters in Davao de Oro province – nearly 1,000 kilometers south of the capital Manila. “There are reports of more casualties, but we are still waiting for our regional counterparts’ official figures and information,” spokesman Mark Timbal said.

The tropical storm, dubbed “Agaton” in the Philippines, made landfall yesterday on the island nation’s east coast with gusts of up to 105 kilometers per hour. Shipping traffic was suspended, and more than 1,100 people were stranded in various ports around the country. The storm has since weakened, it said.

The Philippines is hit by an average of about 20 typhoons each year. The worst storm so far, “Haiyan,” had claimed the lives of more than 6,300 people in November 2013. At the end of last year, typhoon “Rai” had caused severe devastation, killing more than 400 people.

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