Scores rescued after Philippines ferry sinks

Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
The Maharlika II only had 84 listed passengers, but there could have been many more

At least 100 people have been rescued, and two confirmed dead, after a ferry sank in bad weather in the central Philippines on Saturday

However, the Maharlika II only had 84 people listed as being on board, so authorities cannot say how many more may be missing.

The ferry left Liloan port in Southern Leyte province and an order to abandon ship was given at 21:20 (13:20 GMT).

The Philippines has a poor record for maritime safety.

Accidents are common because of tropical weather, badly maintained passenger boats and weak enforcement of safety regulations, correspondents say.

'Huge waves'

The Maharlika II sank north-west of Panaon Island, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council says.

It said the ferry suffered steering problems "due to big waves and strong current".

Commander Armand Balilo told reporters: "Based on our initial report, two people died and 102 others were rescued by three vessels, including two foreign commercial ships.

"We are not sure how many are still missing because it now appears there were more people on board."

It is fairly common for some passengers to board ferries without being listed.

Rescue boats had trouble reaching survivors because of the "huge waves," a spokesman for the council, Mina Marasigan, told AFP news agency.

Meanwhile communities in another part of the Philippines - the north-east of the main island of Luzon - are preparing as Typhoon Kalmaegi heads towards the country.

The typhoon is expected to bring powerful winds and heavy rains, with maximum winds of 160 Km/h (100 mph).

Vulnerable areas being told to expect flash floods and landslides, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council has said.

Image source, EPA
Image caption,
Filipinos in Manila are securing their possessions against the approaching Typhoon Kalmaegi

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