Storm leaves 2 dead in Philippines

Tropical storm Chanchu left two dead, stranded 6,000 passengers, sank an empty ferry and triggered landslides that isolated villages in the Philippines, officials and witnesses said.

An electric line severed by a swaying coconut tree in rural Manapla town, 460 kilometers (285 miles) south of Manila, electrocuted Army Berjamin as she fed pigs near home. Her husband also died when he tried to aid her, Berjamin's sister said.

The storm forced the coast guard to stop ferry services between the southeastern tip of the main island of Luzon and Samar island, stranding nearly 6,000 passengers, 21 sea vessels, and 230 buses, trucks and cars, according to the Office of Civil Defense.

An empty ferry, M/V Northern Samar, sank after big waves buffeted the vessel as it was being towed to a shelter in Tabaco, a town 320 kilometers(199 miles) southeast of Manila, Maritime Industry Authority officer Arnie Santiago said. No one was reported hurt.

Southern Leyte provincial Gov. Rosette Lerias said late Thursday landslides and flood had isolated at least 12 villages in her province, affecting an estimated 6,000 residents.

A swollen river threatened at least six other villages and she appealed over the radio for residents living on the riverside to evacuate.

The Office of Civil Defense on Friday listed nine villages isolated in Southern Leyte's Sogod town. Provincial officials said floods have subsided in some of the previously affected villages.

Thirteen families in Southern Leyte's Macrohon town had to seek shelter in an evacuation center because their homes were submerged, a government statement added.

In February, a mountainside collapsed in the province's Saint Bernard town, burying the entire village of Guinsaugon and killing more than 1,000 people, reports the AP.

I.L.