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Deadly typhoon strikes the Philippines

Deadly typhoon strikes the Philippines
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The most powerful typhoon to hit the Philippines this year has triggered floods and landslides, smashed hundreds of homes and disrupted power and communication links.

Typhoon Utor, packing winds of 150 kilometres per hour near its centre and gusts of up to 185 kph, made landfall on the northern island of Luzon.

The national disaster agency said a man clearing a clogged drain was killed when a landslide buried him in mountainous Benguet province and dozens of people – mostly fishermen – are missing.

The typhoon has also badly damaged rice, corn and coconut crops.

The coastal town of Casiguran in Aurora province, 343 kilometres northeast of the capital Manila, suffered the worst damage, after the typhoon set off landslides that blocked its only access road.

“About 90 percent of our agriculture was destroyed or damaged,” Aurora governor Gerardo Noveras told ANC television, adding that the full extent of damage was still unknown.

Losing strength the typhoon moved out over the South China Sea and was expected to hit about 300 kilometres southwest of Hong Kong.

On average 20 typhoons hit the Philippines every year.