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Storms bear down on Philippines


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A survivor is rescued by helicopter in Quezon province.
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MANILA, Philippines (CNN) -- The Philippines is bracing for more disastrous weather over the next few days, coming hard on the heels of two earlier deadly storms.

According to The Associated Press, the death toll now stands at 412 people, with 177 people still missing.

Typhoon Nanmadol, packing winds of up to 220 kilometers per hour (140 mph), is expected to make landfall on the east coast of the Philippine islands in the next 48 hours.

This latest typhoon will compound an already serious disaster situation in three eastern regions which are still struggling to recover from two powerful storms.

The chaos came after a powerful storm on Tuesday triggered landslides and flash floods, according to officials.

A typhoon a week earlier struck the same region.

Rescuers are now racing to the region to try to save people stranded in three coastal towns before the next typhoon strikes.

Their efforts are being hampered by landslides and floods which have washed away bridges and roads.

Helicopter crews are struggling to find ground solid enough to land on and dropped food packages to residents huddled on rooftops or high ground.

Officials are arranging for a coast guard boat to head for three worst-hit towns in Quezon province to deliver supplies or pick up evacuees.

Philippines President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was returning early from a regional summit in Laos to visit the storm-ravaged areas on Wednesday.

Arroyo traveled to the same area just last week to console victims of an earlier typhoon and storm.

Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman returned to Manila late on Tuesday afternoon from an aerial survey of the area and reported that at least 306 people were killed and 150 missing in Quezon province, about 70 kilometers (40 miles) east of Manila.

Elsewhere, 19 were killed in Aurora province, eight in Rizal province, and one each in the Manila suburb of Marikina and Camarines Norte province, the Office of Civil Defense reported.

Other officials reported that three died in Bulacan province north of Manila.

Soliman said bad weather and blocked roads prevented authorities from delivering relief supplies and rescuing people on rooftops.

Air force spokesman Lt. Col. Restituto Padilla said that stricken towns in Quezon were inaccessible after bridges were destroyed when illegally cut logs and uprooted trees slammed into them.

Soliman said officials told residents to stay on the high ground because of continuous rains in the mountains, which could cause more floods and landslides.

She said 114 died in Real town, 100 in Infanta and 92 in General Nakar, all in Quezon. At least 150 were reported missing in Real.

The Philippines is hit with about 20 storms and typhoons a year.


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