MANILA, Philippines — The U.S. military trucked in supplies and marshaled helicopters and Navy ships as the Philippines struggled with the aftermath of back-to-back storms that have left more than 600 dead.
After pulling six people from landslides late Thursday and early Friday, Filipino rescuers said they remained hopeful of locating more survivors in the stricken north of the country, but retrieved only bodies on Saturday.
With roads blocked and bridges washed away, the Philippine government's resources have been stretched thin. Officials have asked U.S. troops in the country for an annual military exercise to extend relief operations.
Troops from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, based in Okinawa, Japan, had just finished rescue and cleanup work around Manila, which experienced the worst flooding in over four decades after Tropical Storm Ketsana dumped record rains Sept. 26. That disaster displaced about 1 million people and killed 337 in the capital and surrounding provinces. More than 287,000 remain in evacuation centers.
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Then Typhoon Parma struck Oct. 3 and has lingered as a tropical depression for about a week, also over the main northern Philippine island of Luzon. It has dumped more heavy rains, triggering floods and landslides that have killed at least 276 people, most of them in the last two days. It has displaced about 170,000 people.
Regional civil defense official Olive Luces said 152 bodies have so far been recovered in Benguet province — 125 miles north of Manila — 23 in Mountain Province, and 50 in Baguio city. Some 51 deaths have been recorded earlier in eight other provinces.
Marine Capt. Jorge Escatell, a U.S. military spokesman, said troops have trucked tons of U.N. food aid from Manila to a Philippine military camp in northern Tarlac province for distribution by the Americans today to victims of Typhoon Parma.
Marine CH-46 helicopters also have flown over the flooded region to assess the damage and find locations for a medical mission and food distribution.