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Philippines storm death roll rises to nine

The death toll from a tropical storm that struck the Philippines has risen to nine, officials said Wednesday, as some of the thousands of displaced residents returned home with floods receding.

Landslides and flash floods brought by Tropical Storm Sanba struck the main southern island of Mindanao on Tuesday and killed eight people, the civil defence office in the region said, doubling its earlier figure of four deaths.

"Most of the floods have subsided and all roads are now passable, but we have two people still missing from the flooding," civil defence official Mark Yap told AFP by telephone from Butuan city.

A baby also died on the central island of Leyte after a house was buried by an avalanche, the regional civil defence office sadi.

Sanba had forced more than 21,000 people to flee, mostly on Mindanao's east coast, the civil defence office in Manila said. However Yap said many had since returned home.

Sanba was bearing down on the country's western island of Palawan on Wednesday afternoon. But it had weakened after crossing the Sulu Sea and now had top gusts of 60 kilometres (37 miles) an hour, the state weather service said.

The archipelago nation is struck by 20 storms or typhoons each year on average, some of them deadly.

The country's deadliest on record is Super Typhoon Haiyan, which left more than 7,350 people dead or missing across the central Philippines in November 2013.

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