Typhoon kills 38 in Philippines, millions without power

A resident fixes his house which was damaged by Typhoon Rammasun on Wednesday in Batangas city, south of Manila, Philippines, Thursday, on 17 July 2014. Image copyright AP
Image caption The typhoon ripped off tin roofs and felled trees as it swept through provinces south of the Philippines

A powerful storm that battered the central Philippines has killed 38 people and left millions without power.

Ten more people were injured by Typhoon Rammasun and another eight remain missing, according to authorities.

The typhoon swept through the country on Tuesday night before making a shift away from Manila on Wednesday.

More than 530,000 people took refuge in evacuation centres. Many of those who died were killed while outdoors by falling trees and flying debris.

Millions living in provinces southeast of the capital still have no power, according to news agencies.

Officials have managed to restore power to only half of Luzon, which has 17 million people.

Much of the eastern region of Bicol, which was hit first by the storm and is home to five million, is also without electricity.

Manila was hit by widespread blackouts as well, but most of the city's power has since been restored.

Officials said more than one million people were affected by the storm. Most of them were from Bicol.

The storm is now heading westwards towards China's Hainan island. The Tropical Storm Risk website is predicting it will gain in strength to Category 2 - one grade below its strength in the Philippines - within 24 hours.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Officials estimate the typhoon caused about $1 million (£580,000) in damage to infrastructure
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Residents in the coastal town of Rosario searched for salvageable items amid debris left by the typhoon

The country's stock exchange and government offices reopened on Thursday but many schools remained closed because of power shortages.

Alexander Pama, the executive director of the National Disaster Agency, told agencies that the storm destroyed about 7,000 houses and damaged another 19,000.

About $1m (£580,000) in infrastructure was destroyed and at least $14m in crops and livestock in Bicol were lost, he said.

At its peak, Rammasun - which is a Thai word for "thunder god" - brought winds of up to 150km per hour.

The Philippines is hit by around 20 major storms a year. Typhoon Rammasun was the first to make landfall this year after the rainy season began in June.

Typhoon Haiyan, which devastated the country last year, killed more than 6,000 people and was said to be one of the worst storms on record.

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