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Four dead, nearly 25,000 displaced as monsoon rains lash Philippines

Manila (dpa) – Four people are dead, five are injured and 25,000 have been displaced due to heavy monsoon rains and strong winds in the Philippines, officials said on Sunday.

Floods and landslides amid days of continuous torrential rains since last week have upturned thousands of lives, the national disaster agency said.

A 39-year-old woman died on Friday in the northern city of Baguio when a tree fell and crushed a taxi she was riding in, the agency said. Two people were also injured in the accident.

In the northern province of Ilocos Norte, a 35-year-old farmer and a 15-year-old boy were killed when they were struck by lightning, police said. Three people were also injured in the lightning strike.

A 28-year-old man drowned when he was swept by strong currents while fishing in the town of Lian in Batangas province, just south of Manila, on Saturday, police said.

The man was rushed to hospital by relatives, but was declared dead on arrival, the police added.

Mark Timbal, a spokesperson for the national disaster agency, said a total of 87,493 people have been affected by the bad weather since last week, when typhoon In-Fa swept through the northern Philippines.

While In-Fa did not make landfall, it enhanced the south-west monsoon bringing rains to the northern provinces and the capital region of Metro Manila.

Timbal said authorities were hoping the weather would improve next week, but that the national disaster agency has issued a reminder that even once the typhoon is gone, there would still be a monsoon.

“So let us not be complacent,” Timbal said over Manila radio station DZMM.

In-Fa was packing maximum sustained winds of 140 kilometres per hour (km/h) and gusts of up to 170 km/h as it moved out of the Philippines on Saturday, according to the weather bureau.

The bureau warned of “scattered to widespread flooding and rain-induced landslides” due to the monsoon rains.

The Philippines is hit by an average of 20 tropical cyclones every year.

The strongest typhoon to hit the country was Typhoon Haiyan, which killed more than 6,300 people and displaced more than 4 million in November 2013.

By Girlie Linao, dpa

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