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MANILA (Reuters) - Tropical storm Prapiroon killed six people and forced thousands to flee their homes in northern Philippines before heading towards southern China on Wednesday, disaster officials said.
Prapiroon, which means "God of rain" in Thai, is the fourth storm to hit the Philippines in five weeks and flood waters affected half a million people, of whom 14,500 had to flee to higher ground, the National Disaster Coordinating Council said.
Lightning killed two people while three drowned after heavy rains flooded rice and corn-growing regions on Luzon island. One person was killed by a falling tree and two were missing.
Seven houses were swept away by flash floods and the initial damage to crops was estimated at 33 million pesos ($641,000).
The Philippine weather bureau said Prapiroon, with maximum of 95 kph and gusts of up to 120 kph, left the country early on Wednesday and was spotted near Hong Kong on its way to China.
But the weather bureau warned of another storm developing in Yap island, about 1,360 km (850 miles) east of Mindanao in the Philippines.
Typhoons and tropical storms regularly hit the archipelago of about 7,000 islands. In the worst disaster in recent years, more than 5,000 people died in central Leyte island in 1991 in floods triggered by a typhoon.
In 2004, a series of storms left about 1,800 people dead or missing, including 480 who were killed when mudslides buried three towns in Quezon, an eastern province.
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