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Landslides leave 160 dead in Philippines

Rescuers in the Philippines struggled through pounding rain and mud on Friday to clear mountain roads and retrieve the bodies of more than 160 people left dead after dozens of landslides struck late Thursday.

Rescuers in the Philippines struggled through pounding rain and mud on Friday to clear mountain roads and retrieve the bodies of more than 160 people left dead after dozens of landslides struck late Thursday.

The latest disaster brings the death toll in the Philippines to more than 450 after successive storms beginning on Sept. 26 hit cities and villages alike, causing the country's worst flooding in 40 years.

Landslides have killed more than 160 people in Benguet and Mountain province along the Cordillera mountain range, about 200 kilometres north of Manila, officials said Friday.

Flooding also hit about 30 towns in Pangasinan province, sending residents fleeing to rooftops and scrambling for safety, after dams released excess water from recent heavy rains, officials said.

The landslides also blocked the roads into the mountain city of Baguio in the Cordillera region, leaving rescuers to travel by foot through the mountain region because helicopters could not fly because of the storms.

"We are focused on rescue at this time," said Lt.-Col. Ernesto Torres, spokesman for the government's disaster-relief agency. "It is raining nonstop in the Cordilleras."

Tropical depression Parma is still lingering off the northeastern coast and dumped rain overnight.

It hit land more than a week ago as a typhoon but has lingered off the coast in part because of the influence of another storm to the north, Typhoon Melor, which struck Japan on Wednesday.

Parma came eight days after Typhoon Ketsana first hit the island country, causing widespread flooding in the capital Manila and the surrounding region and killing 286.

With files from the Associated Press

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