Tropical Storm Tembin: Philippines rescuers seek victims

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Rescuers are searching for victims of a tropical storm in the southern Philippines, where nearly 200 people have died in mudslides and flash floods.

Rescue teams have yet to reach some of the affected areas on Mindanao island.

Many people are missing after Storm Tembin, with winds up to 80km/h (50mph), swept through the area.

The towns of Tubod and Piagapo were badly hit, while the remote Dalama village was wiped out by flash floods.

The storm is now moving west towards Vietnam.

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres said he was saddened by the loss of life, adding that the UN was ready to help.

There are fears the death toll will rise further.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is due to visit communities affected by Storm Tembin on Sunday.

Tembin, known as Vinta in the Philippines, started lashing Mindanao on Friday, with a state of emergency declared in some areas including the Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur regions.

Regional officials quoted by the Rappler website said there were 127 fatalities in Lanao del Norte, up to 50 in the Zamboanga peninsula and at least 18 in Lanao del Sur.

Tubod police officer Gerry Parami told the AFP news agency that there had been at least 19 deaths in the town, which is in Lanao del Norte.

Another official told AFP that at least 10 people had died in the town of Piagapo, 10km east of Tubod.

A number of homes in the two towns were buried by boulders.

Speaking about Dalama, he said “the river rose and most of the homes were swept away. The village is no longer there”.

The official added that volunteers were digging through mud to try to recover bodies in the village.

“We’ve sent rescuers but they’re making little progress,” Saripada Pacasum said.

More deaths were reported in Bukidnon, Iligan and Misamis Occidental.

Power cuts and the loss of communications have hampered rescue efforts.

Andrew Morris, from the UN children’s agency Unicef in Mindanao, said in some areas there were big risks of disease, particularly for children, and restoring clean water supplies would be a priority.

“Lanao del Sur province is the poorest in the Philippines, and in the past seven months there have been around 350,000 people displaced in that province because of fighting,” he told the BBC, referring to battles between government forces and Islamist militants in Marawi.

Meanwhile, Richard Gordon, of the Philippines Red Cross, told the BBC: “We have already provided water and hot food.

“And we’re going to be distributing non-food items – certainly blankets, mosquito nets and certainly hygiene kits for those who are in evacuation centres so that we can alleviate the suffering of many of the folks there.”

Storm Tembin made a second landfall on Balabac island in the Palawan archipelago and is forecast to travel west, south of the Spratly Islands, reaching southern Vietnam in about three days.

A week ago, Tropical Storm Kai-Tak hit the central Philippines, killing dozens.

The region is still recovering from Typhoon Haiyan, which killed more than 5,000 people and affected millions in 2013.

 

*News Searching By BBC*

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