Source AP ©

Powerful typhoon veers towards Japan, leaving 12 people dead in Philippines

After killing at least 12 people dead in the Philippines, typhoon Mitag weakened and veered towards Japan.

Twenty-three other people remain missing from Tropical Storm Mitag, as another weather disturbance - Tropical Depression Hagibis - continued to approach western Palawan island, disaster relief officials and forecasters said.

A weakened Mitag was moving northeast close to northern Batanes islands at 15 kph (9 mph), with 75 kph (47 mph) winds near the center and gusts of up to 90 kph (56 mph). It was forecast to be 210 kilometers (130 miles) south of Okinawa , Japan by Wednesday morning.

Hagibis, which weakened from a tropical storm, was 200 kilometers (124 miles) northwest of the western city of Puerto Princesa as of early Tuesday, packing winds of up to 55 kph (34 miles), the weather bureau said.

Hagibis killed 13 people in the country last week before heading for Vietnam . It reversed its position and turned back to the Philippines, complicating emergency preparations.

Fatalities from Mitag rose to 12, after a landslide killed a 6-year-old boy and a 69-year-old man in mountainous Kaliga province in the north, the Office of Civil Defense reported.

Twenty other people remain missing in Kalinga and nearby Apayao province, including two families with eight members each whose houses were washed out by landslides in Kalinga's Pinukpuk town, said Elvira Calina, OCD's chief in that region.

In northern Cagayan province, a 20-year old man is missing and may have drowned, OCD said.

A Philippine air force jet with two pilots also went missing in the foul weather while searching for 26 Filipinos whose fishing boat sank last week near the Spratly islands in the South China Sea , the air force said.

Disaster relief officials said nearly 450,000 people were affected by Mitag, with more than 200,000 people moved to evacuation centers.

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