Typhoon nears Philippines, as toll rises

Patients with leptospirosis crowd a medical center's lobby in Marikina City in suburban Manila on Sunday.
A powerful typhoon lumbered toward the storm-battered Philippines on Monday, as the death toll from two devastating storms in the last month climbed to 858.

Typhoon Lupit, packing winds of 109 miles per hour (175 km per hour), was expected to hit land Thursday, the National Disaster Coordinating Council said. It was hovering about 720 miles (1,160 km) east of Cagayan, the northernmost province. The government placed emergency teams on standby and stockpiled food, blankets and water. It fears landslides and storm surges from Lupit — locally known as Ramil — could unleash further devastation to a nation already reeling from the one-two punch of Tropical Storm Ketsana and Typhoon Parma. Ketsana, also known as Ondoy, drenched the Philippines with its heaviest rainfall in 40 years when it hit September 26. Eighty percent of the capital, Manila, flooded. By Monday, the death toll from Ketsana stood at 420, with 37 more missing. Although most of the deaths occurred when the typhoon struck, several others died days later of leptospiroris, the government said. The bacterial infection is caused by exposure to water contaminated by animal urine.

More than three weeks later, some areas are still under waist-high water, the disaster coordinating council said. About 189,000 residents remain in evacuation centers. On October 3, Typhoon Parma made landfall in a rural region of fishermen and farmers in Luzon, the largest of the Philippine islands, killing 438 people and destroying 55,000 people. Fifty-one others are still missing. Watch stories of people who endured the flooding