VIDEO: 180 DEAD AS TROPICAL STORM TEMBIN SWEEPS THROUGH THE PHILIPPINESDate: 2017-12-23
More than 180 people are reported to have been killed and scores more missing as the tropical storm, Tembin, swept through the southern Philippines.
The storm brought flash floods and mudslides to parts of Mindanao island with two of its towns, namely Tubod and Piagapo, feeling the brunt as a number of homes were buried by boulders.
The Philippines suffers regularly from deadly tropical storms, although Mindanao is usually spared. This time though, Tembin has passed across Mindanao and through the resort islands of Palawan as winds of up to 80km/h (50 mph) move it on a path further west.
A state of emergency was declared in some parts of Mindanao including the Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur regions as Temblin started lashing the area on Monday.
The Rappler website quoted regional officials as saying there were 127 fatalities in Lanao del Norte, around 50 in the Zamboanga peninsula and at least 18 in Lanao del Sur.
Gerry Parami, a Tubod police officer, told the AFP news agency that there had "been at least 19 deaths in the town, which is in Lanao del Norte." The remote village of Dalama was completely wiped out by flash floods.
"The river rose and most of the homes were swept away. The village is no longer there," he said.
He said volunteers were digging through mud to try to recover bodies in the village.
Another official, Saripada Pacasum, told AFP that at least 10 people had died in the town of Piagapo, 10km east of Tubod.
"We've sent rescuers but they're making little progress due to the rocks," he said.
More deaths were reported in the towns of Sibuco and Salug while power cuts and downed communication lines continue to hamper rescue efforts.
Andrew Morris, from Unicef in Mindanao, said there is now a big risk for disease in some areas, 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.
"So the priority yesterday and this morning has really been to check their situation."
Tembin has made landfall twice, the second being on Balabac island in the Palawan archipelago. It is forecast to travel west over the next three days, south of the Spratly Islands, towards southern Vietnam.
Just a week ago, Tropical Storm, Kai-Tak, killed dozens when it crossed the central Philippines, while the region is still recovering from Typhoon Haiyan back in 2013, which killed over 5,000 people and affected millions more.