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Philippine storm kills 27, but no damage to Manila


Manila, Dec 9 The death toll from a giant storm crossing the Philippines rose to 27 today, the Red Cross said, but there was widespread relief after it brushed the capital without causing major damage.

Most of the people killed were on the far eastern island of Samar, where Hagupit initially made landfall as a typhoon on the weekend with winds of 210 kilometres an hour.

Hagupit then weakened while moving slowly west, passing close to the capital Manila yesterday night and today morning without dumping forecast heavy rain.

Tens of thousands of people, mostly the city’s poorest residents who live in shanty homes along the coast and riverbanks, spent the night in evacuation centres to wait out the storm.

They returned to their homes yesterday in drizzly weather after only moderate rain and no major flooding throughout the night.

Philippine Red Cross chairman Richard Gordon told today the number of people confirmed killed so far was 27, although he expected that number to rise with full assessments from Samar and other areas yet to be done.

Hagupit was downgraded from a tropical storm to a tropical depression today, as it passed over the far western islands of the Southeast Asian archipelago and approached the South China Sea.

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