MANILA, Philippines – The death toll from landslides and flash floods in the eastern Philippines (search) jumped to nearly 340 with 150 others missing Tuesday, after a second rainstorm hit a region still reeling from last week's deadly typhoon.
Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman, who returned to Manila late Tuesday afternoon from an aerial survey of the area, said 306 people were killed and 150 missing in Quezon province (search) overnight, about 40 miles east of Manila.
The Office of Civil Defense reported 19 were killed in Aurora province, eight in Rizal province, and one each in the Manila suburb of Marikina and Camarines Norte province. Other officials reported three died in Bulacan province north of Manila.
Soliman told ABS-CBN television that bad weather and roads blocked by landslides and submerged in flood waters prevented authorities from delivering relief supplies and rescuing people on rooftops.
Helicopters had to drop food packs to those on rooftops because there was no place to land, she said.
She most of the dead were in three Quezon towns: Real, Infanta and General Nakar. At least 150 were reported missing in Real, she said.
Officials were arranging for a coast guard boat to reach the three Quezon towns facing the Pacific Ocean, from where a new typhoon was approaching.
Reuben Sindac, police intelligence chief in Quezon, quoted a colleague as saying he saw 10-20 bodies floating in the floodwaters.
He said police communications equipment and vehicles in Infanta were damaged and the whole town was underwater.
Air force spokesman Lt. Col. Restituto Padilla said that stricken towns in Quezon were inaccessible after swollen rivers washed away bridges and uprooted trees.
A coast guard helicopter flew 12 people who were injured in the Quezon landslides to Manila for treatment, most with fractures and some in critical condition, Amparo said.
A private helicopter used to survey damage crash-landed in flood waters in northern Nueva Ecija province, but the pilot and a radio reporter with him were rescued by a military helicopter.
TV footage showed residents stranded on patches of dry land, waving at rescue helicopters. Brown-colored floodwater submerged bridges, and large areas of hillsides were swept away, sending tons of dirt and debris onto roads and toppling coconut trees.
The Philippines is hit with about 20 storms and typhoons a year. A typhoon and another storm in the country's east last week killed at least 87 people and left 80 others missing.