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Philippines races to free 30 trapped in landslide

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Heavy rainfall in mountainous region also triggers floods in Philippines

MANILA Philippine rescue teams worked to free at least 30 people trapped under earth and rubble yesterday after a typhoon dumped heavy rainfall on a mountainous region, triggering floods and deadly landslides.

Soldiers and disaster agency personnel managed to pass through blocked roads to reach the remote area during the night in northern Mountain province, where a building owned by the local highways department was engulfed by an avalanche of earth.

A body was recovered from the site, one of seven people killed on Tuesday in four provinces in the Cordillera region, said Mr Ruben Carandang, director of its civil defence office.

Typhoon Yutu swept across the main island of Luzon on Tuesday with winds of 140kmh and gusts of up to 230kmh, before exiting the land in the evening.

It came six weeks after super typhoon Mangkhut caused nearly 50 landslides in the Cordilleras, killing more than 70 people.

"In the pictures sent to me this morning, the building was not flattened. There were doors open. There are open spaces," Mr Carandang said by phone.

"There is a possibility there are people still alive. They will not die if they were not crushed."

The disaster agency said 20 labourers, an engineer, three security guards and six or seven residents sheltering from the typhoon were inside.

Six of those killed in the Cordillera region died in landslides and another drowned in an overflowing river. Four of the dead were children.

Radio reported a man was electrocuted in Isabela province, where Yutu made landfall. The national disaster agency reported no confirmed casualties yesterday but said seven people were "affected" by landslides.

Thousands of people in the typhoon's path were evacuated before the storm hit, mostly in mountainous, coastal and river areas at risk of floods, storm surges and mudslides.

When it struck the Philippines, Yutu's winds were half the strength of those it packed five days earlier, when as a super typhoon it piled into the US Northern Mariana islands, 6,000km of Hawaii.- REUTERS