PHILIPPINES

Death toll passes 540 after two weeks of storms

The death toll in the Philippines has passed 540 after two weeks of storms and floods. At least 181 were killed in rain-triggered landslides on Thursday night.

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AFP - The death toll from two weeks of unprecedented storms across the northern Philippines soared past 540 on Friday after landslides consumed homes and neck-deep floods inundated towns.

At least 181 people were killed in a series of rain-triggered landslides overnight Thursday and on Friday in mountainous regions of the Philippines main island of Luzon, officials in those areas reported.

Meanwhile, the downstream farming plains of central Luzon were inundated with waters that reached two storeys high after dams in the mountains could not hold the phenomenal amount of water that has fallen on the region.

"The rains in this area are unprecedented," the executive officer of the National Disaster Coordinating Council, Glen Rabonza, told AFP.

"We are stretched, no doubt, but we are responding in the best way we can."

The crisis showed no signs of easing as tropical storm Parma, responsible for the past week of rains, continued to hover just off Luzon.

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