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Philippine storm toll hits 52 as more go missing

MANILA, July 31, 2011 (AFP) - The death toll from tropical storm Nock-ten rose to 52 in the Philippines even as another approaching storm left two more people missing, the civil defence office said Sunday.

Tropical storm Mufia was on Sunday still about 990 kilometres (614 miles) east of the country, but it has influenced the local weather, causing heavy rains and a tornado, said civil defence deputy officer Florentino Sison.

As Mufia approached, a fishing boat with eight men on board capsized due to strong rain just north of Manila last week, leaving two men missing and feared dead, said Sison of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

Another person was injured by a freak tornado in the same area on Friday, also due to Mufia's influence, he added.

"It (Mufia) did not have a direct effect but it has affected the local weather situation, causing a tornado, flooding and heavy rains, leading to the mishap with the fishermen," Sison told AFP.

Mufia, named after a Chinese flower, is moving northward and is not expected to hit land, he added.

Meanwhile, the death toll from Nock-ten's rampage through the country in the previous week rose to 52 dead and 27 missing as more reports came in from storm-hit provinces in the archipelago.

Most of those killed were drowned or buried in landslides, while virtually all of the missing were fishermen who vanished at sea when the storm hit from Tuesday to Thursday, the council said.

Nock-ten, named after a Laotian bird, blew out into the South China Sea on Thursday, but over 121,000 people are still housed in government evacuation centres due to flooding left by the storm, the council added.

An average of 20 storms and typhoons, many of them deadly, hit the Philippines annually. Nock-ten was the 10th this year.



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