LOOK | #VintaPH leaves more than 100 dead in mudslides, flooding

December 23, 2017 - 10:02 PM
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Storm_Vinta_Lanao_Del_Norte_REU
People help to rescue flood victims in Lanao del Norte, Philippines, December 22, 2017 in this image taken from video footage obtained from social media. Aclimah Cabugatan Disumala/via REUTERS

MANILA – (UPDATED, 4:45 pm, Dec. 24) Tropical storm #VintaPH in and around Mindanao triggered mudslides and flash floods that killed more than 100 people, while dozens are missing, police and disaster officials said on Saturday.

The casualties, most of them caused late on Friday, were on the main southern island of Mindanao, they said.

Disaster officials said many residents had ignored warnings to leave coastal areas and riverbanks.

“Many people were swept to the sea as flood waters quickly rose due to the high tide,” Manuel Luis Ochotorena, a disaster agency official, said. “They never heeded the warnings. They thought it was a weak storm but it dumped more rains.”

Hundreds of kilometers to the east, army and emergency workers were checking reports an entire village was buried by mudslide in Tubod town in Lanao del Norte.

More than 100 deaths were reported in various places including 60 in Tubod, El Salvador and Munai towns in Lanao del Norte province.

Three people were killed in Bukidnon province, while politicians in Lanao del Sur province said 18 people had drowned in flash floods there.

Sixty-four people were reported missing in floods and landslides, according to a tally of reports from officials and police.

In Zamboanga del Norte province, police said 42 people had been killed in the towns of Sibuco and Salug.

Aerial photos below, provided by the chief public information officer of the Western Mindanao Command, shows the extent of the devastation in Sibuco, Zamboanga del Norte:

Ryan Cabus, a local official, said power and communication lines to the area had been cut, complicating rescue efforts.

The weather bureau said the storm had gathered strength over the Sulu Sea and was packing winds of up 80 kph (50 mph) and moving west at 20 kph.

It was heading out over the sea by midday on Saturday and would have moved clear of the Philippines by Monday, it said.

Emergency workers, soldiers, police and volunteers were being mobilized to search for survivors, clear debris, and restore power and communications.

The Philippines is battered by about 20 typhoons every year, bringing death and destruction, usually to the poorest communities.