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Hundreds Dead, Thousands Flee in Typhoon-Battered Northern Philippines


Scores of people have been killed and hundreds of thousands more evacuated after a series of typhoons hit northeastern Philippines. Barely recovered from three earlier storms, the northeastern Philippines was battered again Thursday by a more powerful typhoon.

Typhoon Nanmadol - the fourth and most powerful storm in less than two weeks - slammed into six provinces.

Interior Secretary Angelo Reyes urges people to stay in government shelters and prepare food, water and other essentials.

Thousands of families already have been crammed in makeshift shelters for days now and the army has been mobilized to evacuate remaining residents in the area.

Floods and landslides triggered by the storms have killed hundreds of people over the past week and the number is expected to rise.

The severe weather is hampering efforts to find scores of people still missing.

Tes Usapin, spokeswoman for the Philippine Red Cross, calls the situation unprecedented. She says the Red Cross is still in the middle of relief operations for victims of three recent typhoons and resources are getting scarce. "This is just a beginning," he said. "We know that our resources will be drained soon and that is why we are in urgent need of help."

The Philippines is hit by several typhoons each year but a series of four at the very end of the storm season is unusual.

President Gloria Arroyo ordered a crackdown on illegal logging Wednesday, which she says contributed to the deadly floods and landslides. Without trees on the hillsides, there is nothing to hold the rainwater and mud from flowing down and overwhelming impoverished villages.

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