19 Dead, Hundreds Adrift in Philippines TyphoonBy VOA News
21 June 2008

Typhoon Fengshen has killed at least 19 people in the Philippines and is hampering efforts to rescue more than 700 people aboard a ferry adrift in the storm.

Rough seas and large waves forced Philippine coast guard crews to turn back in their attempt to reach the "Princess of the Stars."

Authorities say the ship is "dead in the water" off the coast of central Sibuyan island. The ferry's crew reported it had run aground and was listing shortly before radio contact was lost with the ship.

The ferry was carrying 626 passengers and 121 crew members when it lost engine power after being battered by the storm.

The typhoon has winds of 195 kilometers per hour and has triggered deadly floods and landslides in the southern Philippines.

Authorities say heavy rain caused a river in the town of Upi in southern Maguindanao province to overflow, washing away several houses and killing at least 10 people. Officials say at least five others are missing.

In nearby Cotabato city, a landslide buried several houses in a slum area, killing at least two people.

Officials warned residents in low-lying and mountainous areas of possible flash floods and landslides, while those in coastal areas were told to watch out for large waves.

Weather forecasters say the storm will move west, leaving the islands Sunday night, and heading toward China.

Authorities have suspended domestic airline flights and ferry service to the central Philippines because of the storm.

voa news