Philippine rescuers race to help towns hit by Typhoon Utor
MANILA (AFP) - Philippine rescuers searched isolated towns devastated by deadly Typhoon Utor on Tuesday as barefoot children stood among ruined homes, but early preparations appeared to have avoided mass casualties.
The government said four people had been confirmed killed and 11 were missing after Utor, the strongest storm this year, swept across the north of the country on Monday.
"Trees have fallen down, roofs have been torn off houses, electric poles and electric towers have collapsed," civil defence office spokesman Reynaldo Balido said, describing chaos from coastal towns to mountain villages hundreds of kilometres apart.
The typhoon hit land in Casiguran, leaving the town of 25,000 largely destroyed but with relatively few casualties, said Eduardo del Rosario, head of the government's National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.