Typhoon Rammasun death toll rises in the Philippines

Manila (AFP) - The death toll is still rising and hundreds of thousands of homes are without power five days after Typhoon Rammasun's rampage through the Philippines, authorities said Monday.

Reports of fatalities from the typhoon, which struck the archipelago on July 16, continued to come in from isolated areas, bringing the number of dead to 97, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said in a statement.

Officials have said most were killed by falling trees and debris or knocked down by the storm's powerful winds. Six people, most of them fishermen who went out to sea, also remained missing, the council said.

The Department of Energy said power had been restored to many areas but about 280,000 households in Metro Manila and surrounding provinces were still without electricity.

Other provinces that felt the storm's fury also had only partial electrical service as power companies struggled to repair tens of thousands of toppled electrical poles, said department spokeswoman May Militante.

The Manila Electric Co., which distributes power to the capital and surrounding areas, hopes to have electricity restored to virtually all affected areas by Wednesday, the department said.

But areas outside the capital region may not get power back till the end of the month, Militante warned.

However the country will likely be spared the fury of Typhoon Matmo.

It approached the archipelago over the weekend but now appears likely not to hit land but to move northwest towards Taiwan, the government weather station said.