MANILA - A storm moving toward the northeast of the Philippines weakened on Friday but hundreds of people fled coastal areas, fearing for their lives after powerful typhoons in recent weeks killed more than 920 people.
The United Nations said it would raise additional international aid to feed and shelter tens of thousands of people displaced by the two typhoons that also destroyed about 30 billion pesos ($643 million) worth of crops and infrastructure.
The army, police and coast guard are using several means, including trucks, boats and helicopters, to move people out of danger zones in the northeast, said Lieutenant-Colonel Ernesto Torres of the national disaster agency.
We continue to move people in coastal villages to much safer areas in the north because of this stormy weather, Torres told reporters, adding typhoon Lupit has started to dump rain although it has weakened.
Lupit, which means fierce in Filipino and packing center winds of 105 kph (65 mph) and gustiness of up to 135 kph, was almost stationary 110 kms (68 miles) northeast of extreme northern Luzon. It is expected to make landfall by Sunday.
Television images showed people tying boats to trees and strengthening their homes against strong winds. Other people were sandbagging their homes, hoping to protect them against storm-generated waves that could rise to 10 feet.
The U.N. World Food Program said relief work in the areas ravaged by the typhoons since September 26 would continue up to six months because farmlands were still heavily flooded, which could delay the planting season.
We need the help now, Josette Sheeran, World Food program (WFP) executive director, told reporters after touring flooded areas near the capital Manila. Currently, we are making an assessment to determine what help is still needed.
The WFP has been distributing 5,000 tons of rice and 17 million packs of ready-to-eat biscuits to about 1 million people in communities without power and safe drinking water. Nearly 9 million people were affected by the two typhoons.
(Reporting by Manny Mogato; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan and Miral Fahmy)