|Typhoon Nesat pounded the Philippine capital causing thousands to evacuate to temporary shelters [Al Jazeera]
A massive clean-up operation is under way in the Philippines after Typhoon Nesat battered the capital Manila and the main island, Luzon.
The death toll rose to 21 with 35 still missing after heavy rain and powerful winds triggered storm surges, the national disaster agency said on Wednesday as the typhoon moved over the South China Sea and towards northern Vietnam and southern China.
"People have to realise now, with the changing climate, typhoons are getting stronger, the pull of the monsoon is getting stronger"
- Graciano Yumul, PAGASA
Nesat is due to reach the Vietnamese capital, Hanoi, on Sunday evening.
There were more than 65,800 people in about 190 evacuation centres across the country, and many others sought refuge with friends and family, the agency added.
It put initial estimates of damage at $2.3m, including extensive damage to agriculture. The department of agriculture said it may also release its preliminary damage estimates on Wednesday.
The agency estimated that 195,705 individuals across 38 provinces were affected by the typhoon.
Meanwhile, financial markets, government offices and some schools reopened after being closed by the typhoon, and train services resumed after power supplies were restored in the capital.
The storm passed across the Cagayan Valley, which was expected to account for about 10 per cent of the country's fourth-quarter rice crop.
The government had cut rice imports this year to about 860,000 tonnes from a record 2.45 million tonnes in 2010, amid plans to make the country self-sufficient in its national staple in coming years.
|Most deaths reportedly occurred in and around Manila, according to Philippine officials [AFP]
But any major damage to crops could force it to import more supplies, at a time when rice prices are rising.
There was flooding across provinces in the north of Luzon and authorities maintained warnings of storm surges and flash flooding.
"People have to realise now, with the changing climate, typhoons are getting stronger, the pull of the monsoon is getting stronger," Graciano Yumul, who supervises the country's weather bureau, PAGASA, said in a television interview on Wednesday.
The sea wall at Manila Bay was badly damaged by strong storms, which swamped Roxas Boulevard and other waterfront areas.
As Nesat departed, weather officials said that another storm was developing in the Pacific Ocean that could pick up strength and become a typhoon as it approaches north Luzon.
"Our initial track line shows it may hit northern Luzon. But it may be too early to tell because it might still change course," Yumul said.