MANILA — President Corazon Aquino declared a state of calamity today in northern provinces hit by Typhoon Peggy and ordered the release of $550,000 for emergency relief.
At least 93 people died, scores more were injured and 45,000 people were left homeless by the rampaging storm that smashed into the islands Wednesday and Thursday, government officials said.
The typhoon brushed past Hong Kong today and slammed into the south China coast with wind gusts of up to 80 m.p.h.
It was downgraded to a severe tropical storm about four hours after it struck China near Shanwei, causing peasants in southern Guangdong province to cower in their homes and closing the gleaming financial towers of Hong Kong 80 miles away.
There were no immediate reports of deaths or injuries in Hong Kong or in China.
Peggy registered winds up to 109 m.p.h. when it struck the Philippines.
Aquino declared an emergency in several provinces where officials worked to calculate the costs of Peggy's passage.
Initial reports reaching Manila indicated the storm caused $13 million in damage as it knocked down power lines, uprooted crops, washed away bridges and destroyed the homes of 36,000 people. Officials counted 9,744 left homeless elsewhere in the country.
One of the worst hit areas was Manila, where officials reported 21 dead, including five people killed when a boulder, dislodged by heavy rain, rolled down a slope and crushed their shantytown dwelling.
Manila mostly suffered from flooded roads as heavy rain and tidal water from Manila Bay backed up into debris-filled rivers and canals and overflowed drainage systems.
Aquino visited about 300 evacuees at a church today and said she would release $550,000 for relief services. Social welfare officials took advantage of the improving weather to begin airlifting relief supplies to the three hard-hit northern provinces.
"The damage to property has been extensive, and the loss of lives has made this calamity a tragedy as well," Aquino said. She declared a "state of calamity in the provinces affected" by the typhoon.