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Super-typhoon Nanmadol lashes Philippines
by Staff Writers
Manila (AFP) Aug 27, 2011

Super-typhoon Nanmadol battered the northern tip of the Philippines on Saturday, bringing heavy rain and causing landslides that left at least six people dead or missing, civil defence officials said.

Nanmadol, the strongest storm to hit the country this year, was hovering over the northern province of Cagayan, raising fears of more devastation to come the longer it remains in the area, officials said.

Two children were killed in a landslide in the hills north of the Philippine capital, while two fishermen went missing at sea and two other men were washed away by an overflowing river in a separate incident, officials said.

More landslides are expected as heavy rains fall on mountainous areas, warned Major Rey Balido of the government monitoring centre.

"For the past three days it has been raining, so the soil has been saturated and there will be landslides," he told AFP.

"There will be more floods also because the typhoon has been almost stationary, so the rains just keep falling. It will take a longer time to traverse the area and will be more devastating," he warned.

He said the government had evacuated residents living near areas prone to landslips and flash floods as a precaution, although the total number of people moved had not yet been compiled.

President Benigno Aquino's spokesman Edwin Lacierda appealed to the public not to take the threat lightly and to follow all instructions from civil defence authorities.

"Especially those in the north, let's not ignore the warnings of the local government officials. It is important that they follow all the instructions so you can be protected," Lacierda said.

At least 15 domestic flights to the north were cancelled due to the storm.

A US Navy nuclear-powered supercarrier, USS John C. Stennis, which was due to arrive for a port call in Manila on Saturday, also postponed its arrival due to strong winds and rough waves stirred up by the storm, the US embassy said.

Nanmadol, packing gusts of about 230 kilometres (145 miles) per hour, slowed down to only seven kilometres an hour as it approached land, bringing rain and winds over a wide area, the government weather station said.

The storm, which is named after an ancient site in Micronesia, is strong enough to uproot large trees and damage houses, it added.

It is expected to move northwards and will be off the eastern coast of Taiwan by Monday, the weather station said.

Storm alerts have been raised over the northern provinces of the main Philippine island of Luzon.

An average of 20 storms and typhoons, many of them deadly, hit the Philippines annually. The last storms, Nock-ten and Muifa, left at least 70 dead when they hit the country in July.

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Over 2,500 evacuated in Chechnya floods: official
Moscow (AFP) Aug 27, 2011 - The authorities in Russia's Caucasus region of Chechnya Saturday evacuated over 2,500 people from their homes in the capital Grozny due to flooding caused by heavy rains that burst a dam, officials said.

The local branch of the emergencies ministry said in a statement that a total of 2,688 people were affected and required evacuation after 673 homes were hit by the flooding.

The flooding was caused when heavy rain over the last two days led to the bursting of the dam over the river Sunzha that protects the city from floodwaters.

There were no reports of casualties.

The controversial head of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, appeared on the scene to inspect the broken dam and vow that all the evacuated families would receive accommodation until the waters receded, Russian news agencies reported.

The Kremlin fought two wars against separatist rebels in Chechnya since the collapse of the Soviet Union. The situation has stabilised somewhat in the last years although attacks by Islamist-inspired insurgents are still frequent.

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Storm delays Martin Luther King memorial ceremony
Washington (AFP) Aug 25, 2011
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