Filipinos rescued, hundreds more stranded by storm

Philippine emergency workers Saturday rescued 30 fishermen whose boat was left drifting in rough seas amid the country's first tropical storm of the year, which also left hundreds of travellers stranded.

The fishermen's motorboat ran out of petrol off the coast of the country's easternmost island of Catanduanes on Friday while negotiating big waves and heavy rains triggered by storm Mawar.

"They have been found and the immobilised boat is now being towed to shore," the office of the civil defence chief Benito Ramos said, adding that all fishermen were accounted for.

The storm blanketed large parts of the island of Luzon and central Visayas province with up to 25 millimetres (an inch) of rain an hour overnight, the state weather bureau said.

At least two domestic flights were cancelled while more than 500 people were stranded in ports after the coastguard prevented passenger ferries from sailing, disaster relief agencies said.

About 20 storms slam into the Philippines from the Pacific every year, causing heavy casualties and damage.

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