Storms lash much of Asia

MANILA: Twin storms battered South-East Asia yesterday, while in India and Bangladesh, officials were trying to stem outbreaks of disease as monsoon floods recede. 

At least five people were killed yesterday when powerful Typhoon Imbudo swept across the northern Philippines, disrupting power at the main international airport and ripping off roofs. 

In northern Vietnam, Tropical Storm Koni, downgraded from a typhoon, lashed the region after engulfing southern China's Hainan island on Monday night. 

Koni dumped heavy rains on Hainan and disrupted flights but caused little damage and no deaths or injuries had been reported, the official Xinhua news agency said. 

Imbudo (funnel in the Filipino language), the strongest typhoon to hit the Philippines since 1998, swept across rice and corn-growing areas on the main island of Luzon and dumped heavy rains on the central Visayas and southern Mindanao regions. 

The Department of Agriculture said it had no immediate reports on the extent of damage to crops. 

The weather bureau said Imbudo had intensified since Monday, with winds of 190kph and gusts of 230kph. It was expected to move north-west towards Hong Kong tomorrow. 

Taiwan issued a warning to ships on Thursday as the storm headed for the southern Chinese coast. 

Authorities in Vietnam's northern coastal provinces urged fishermen to return to port as Koni, which means “swan” in Korean, moved in from the Tonkin Gulf and by late yesterday had been downgraded further to a tropical low-pressure system. 

Weather officials said wind speeds at the centre of the storm were 39 to 61kph, down sharply on earlier wind strength, and a weather report said it would dump torrential rains on eight provinces along a 500km stretch. 

In Japan, Kyodo news agency said the death toll from weekend flooding and mudslides in the south rose to 15 yesterday with seven missing. A meteorological agency official said there was no heavy rain in the area yesterday. 

In northern India, the Red Cross yesterday dispatched food and medicine to remote areas where hundreds are suffering from malaria and water-borne diseases after the worst floods in 50 years. 

Flood waters have receded in the north-eastern state of Assam but authorities have declared an epidemic alert because about a million displaced people are still living in temporary shelters with no access to clean drinking water. 

Five people have died of diarrhoea since Sunday and authorities have sounded an epidemic alert throughout the state because many places remain waterlogged. 

South Asia's annual monsoon, which began in June, has wreaked havoc in eastern India, Nepal and Bangladesh, killing nearly 350 people and damaging infrastructure. – Reuters  


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