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Second typhoon lashes Philippines

The second typhoon in a week has battered the rain-soaked northern Philippines, adding misery to thousands of people, some of whom were still perched on rooftops from previous flooding.

Thousands of people were ordered to evacuate their homes after Typhoon Nalgae slammed ashore south of north-eastern Palanan Bay in Isabela province with winds of 100mph and dangerous gusts of 121mph.

It was making a similar path across the saturated Luzon Island as Typhoon Nesat, which earlier in the week killed at least 50 people, left 31 missing and thousands stranded and sent huge waves that breached a sea wall in Manila Bay.

Nesat also pummelled southern China and was downgraded to a tropical storm just before churning into northern Vietnam on Friday afternoon, where flood warnings were issued and 20,000 people evacuated. There were no immediate reports of casualties in Vietnam and the country did not appear to have suffered any major problems.

In the Philippines, nearly 400,000 people hunkered down in evacuation centres and in homes of relatives and friends along the new typhoon's path. There was heavy rainfall of about an inch an hour within the storm's 340-mile diameter that put the northern provinces including the capital on alert.

Isabela authorities earlier shut down electricity in the province to prevent accidents from falling power pylons and snapped cables. The howling winds toppled trees and blew away tin roofs of some houses in Isabela's provincial capital of Ilagan. In nearby Luna township, a bus with about 30 passengers fell on its side on a rice field because of the strong winds, but no one was seriously injured, police said.

"The ground is still supersaturated and it cannot absorb more water," said Graciano Yumul, the Philippines's weather bureau chief. "This will just flow down to rivers and towns, and there is a big possibility that landslides, flash flooding and flooding could occur."

He urged residents still refusing to leave their homes despite the floods to evacuate because the water was going to rise as Typhoon Nalgae, aggravated by the seasonal monsoon, dumped more rain over the northern region, including the capital, Manila, later.

At least five towns in the rice-growing province of Bulacan and Pampanga, north of Manila, remained submerged three days after Typhoon Nesat had moved on. "We have nowhere to go," Celenia Espino of Calumpit township said from her home, which was filled with knee-deep murky water. "We have no means of transportation out of here."

She was one of the thousands who sought shelter on rooftops with no food, water and electricity, while a procession of other residents waded in chest-deep water down main roads to reach dry land. Civil defence chief Benito Ramos said rescue boats would be sent for the residents before nightfall.

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