Typhoon-hit Philippines threatened by new storm

A tropical storm set to hit the Philippines on Christmas Day could spark floods and landslides, forecasters warned, even as the country struggles to recover from a typhoon that killed hundreds.

Tropical Storm Wukong is expected to bring strong winds and heavy rain to southern island Dinagat from 10:00 pm (1400 GMT), as well as nearby islands Samar and Leyte, the state weather service said.

"These could bring floods and landslides, particularly in landslide-prone areas like southern Leyte and Samar," the service's Nathaniel Servando said.

Servando said storm surges of up to four metres (13 feet) were also expected on the coasts of the three islands.

However, he said the storm was expected to spare the large southern island of Mindanao, which was devastated by Typhoon Bopha earlier this month.

Wukong would pass northwest across the central islands Wednesday and blow out to the South China Sea on Thursday, he said.

No evacuations have been reported so far, with civil defence chief Benito Ramos saying it was up to local officials to take the decision after assessing the dangers in their areas.

Floods and landslides unleashed by Bopha, which hit on December 4 and was the strongest storm to batter the disaster-prone country this year, killed more than 1,000 people and hundreds more remain missing, according to officials.

The Philippines is hit by about 20 major storms or typhoons each year that occur mainly during the rainy season between June and October.

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