MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Typhoon Goni slightly weakened Saturday as it lashed the northern Philippines with strong rain and wind that set off landslides and flooded low-lying villages, leaving at least seven people dead and two others missing, officials said.
The government's weather agency said the typhoon was at sea about 125 kilometers (78 miles) east of northern Calayan Island on the northern tip of the archipelago and is not expected to make landfall. It is packing maximum sustained winds of 160 kilometers (100 miles) per hour and gusts of up to 195 kph (121 mph). The slow-moving typhoon is forecast to start blowing away from the country on Sunday, passing east of Taiwan and heading toward Okinawa, Japan, early next week.
Among the dead were two brothers who died when a landslide buried a temporary shelter where they took cover in Bakun town in the mountain province of Benguet.
Two other men were killed in separate landslides and a man was pinned to death by a fallen tree, according to the Office of Civil Defense.
Benguet Gov. Nestor Fongwan reported two other deaths in his province Saturday and added that rescuers were scrambling to dig up two villagers who were buried in a landslide.
Other casualties were swept by rampaging rivers, landslides and a tornado, officials said.
Several flights and ferry trips have been canceled. Hundreds of families were moved to storm shelters in the north and authorities scrapped classes in several towns in metropolitan Manila and nearby provinces due to flooding and danger from the howling wind.
Goni, a Korean word for swan, is the ninth of about 20 storms and typhoons that are expected to batter the Philippines, one of the world's most disaster-prone countries, this year. Typhoon Haiyan, one of the most ferocious storms on record to hit land, devastated large areas of the central Philippines in November 2013, leaving more than 7,300 dead and missing.