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Death Toll Rises in Philippine Weather Disaster

Rescuers and volunteers help an elderly woman to an evacuation center following flooding caused by the continued rains brought about by the cold front in the central and southeastern parts of the country, in southern Philippines, 18 Jan 2011

Disaster officials in the Philippines say 53 people are now dead after nearly a month of heavy rains and floods across the Pacific nation.

More than a dozen others have been reported missing in the disaster, most them drowned or killed in landslides. Several fishermen have also been reported missing.

The disaster agency says at least 1.5 million people in 25 provinces have been affected by the heavy storms, which have been caused by a Pacific weather pattern.

Officials say residents along the Philippines' eastern seaboard can expect further rainfalls over the next several weeks, which could worsen the crisis.