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At least 29 people killed in RP storm

At least 29 people were killed and eight others were missing as a tropical storm lashed a large portion of the Philippines, relief officials said Saturday.

Twenty-one people were killed when a small passenger ferry sank Friday in the province of Masbate, 405 kilometers south of Manila, due to strong winds and huge waves brought about by tropical storm Chanchu.

The coast guard said 18 were rescued, while the number of missing was still undetermined because many of those aboard the ill-fated ferry were not listed in the manifest.

The captain of the ill-fated vessel ignored warnings from coast guard for small vessels to avoid sailing in the stormy weather.

In the town of Manapla in the nearby province of Negros Oriental, two people were electrocuted as strong winds toppled trees and electric posts.

In the town of Toboso also in Negros Oriental, one fisherman was drowned when his fishing boat capsized Friday.

One man was killed in the town of Tiaong in Quezon province after he was hit by a coconut tree, which was toppled by strong winds. In Nagcarlan town in Laguna province, a boy was killed after he was hit also by falling coconut tree.

In the nearby province of Batangas, a 36-year-old woman and a 70-year-old grandmother were crushed by toppled trees and concrete walls in two separate incidents.

In metropolitan Manila, a 60-year-old woman was killed after a concrete wall collapsed on their makeshift residence in suburban city of Caloocan.

A fishing boat also sank in the central province of Iloilo, leaving one fisherman missing while four of his companions were rescued.

A huge passenger ferry with more than 700 people aboard ran aground off an island south of Manila due to rough waters. Two tugboats have been dispatched by the coast guard to rescue the vessel.

A portion of Calapan City in the province of Mindoro Oriental was submerged in several meters of floodwaters early Saturday after portions of a dike holding waters from a swollen river broke.

Rescuers have been dispatched to the area to provide emergency relief to affected residents.

Power outages hit the metropolitan Manila and other provinces as Chanchu unleashed its fury.

Hundreds of houses were also destroyed by the storm, while roads, bridges and several small ports have been damaged.

The weather bureau said Chanchu, with maximum sustained winds of 110 kilometers per hour and gusts of up to 140 kilometers per hour, was located 110 kilometers west of Calapan.

Chanchu was heading westward toward the South China Sea at a speed of 15 kilometers per hour.

The weather bureau urged residents in coastal areas to seek shelter in higher grounds due to big waves. Residents near mountain slopes and low-lying areas were also alerted against flashfloods and landslides.

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