Mindanao: Deadly flooding and landslides hit the Philippines

We are reproducing below an Al Jazeera and a Guardian articles on the disastrous consequences in Mindanao of typhoon Temblin/Vinta. ESSF has received and endorsed a call for financial solidarity from Mihands coalition. For more information, please go to article 42742: Typhoon Vinta/Tembin – New Disaster in Mindanao (Philippines): An urgent call for financial solidarity

The death toll from Tropical Storm Tembin in southern Philippines has risen to at least 200 people with hundreds more missing, according to officials and aid agencies.

Rescue efforts are under way after the storm lashed the country’s second largest island, Mindanao on Friday, triggering mudslides and flash floods.

Aid workers fear the number of casualties will further increase as forecasters predict more heavy rains.

“We’re really on our toes right now,” Richard Gordon, chairman of the Philippines Red Cross told Al Jazeera on Saturday.

“We’re trying to figure out how to give help to so many people that are really in danger.”

Most of the deaths caused by Tembin, known locally as Vinta, were reported in the provinces of Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur, as well as on the Zamboanga peninsula.

At least 62 people were killed in the hardest-hit province, Lanao del Norte, where floodwaters swept away an entire village on Friday, according to media reports.

The flash floods that hit the remote farming village of Dalama in the Tubod region washed away more than 100 houses, killing at least 18 people, the news website Rappler said.

At least 27 people were still reported missing there on Saturday night.

“The rains caused the Cabuyo River to overflow. The flood came with big rocks and uprooted trees. It wiped out a community composed of 103 houses,” Vicmar Palomar, a local disaster management official, told the news website.

A state of emergency has been declared in Lanao del Norte, as well as Lanao del Sur, the Philippine Daily Inquirer said.

Rescue workers said they fear the number of casualties will rise as power cuts and loss of communication lines have blocked rescue and relief efforts.

“The terrain is kind of rough. There are lots of rocks. And the area is pretty wide,” Gordon, of the Red Cross, told Al Jazeera.

“It’s not just in one province, it’s in several provinces - and so we’re having a hard time trying to communicate with other areas that may have been affected.”

Harry Roque, a spokesman for President Rodrigo Duterte, said at least 72,592 people have been affected by flooding.

“It is unfortunate that another tropical cyclone, Vinta, made its presence felt so near Christmas,” he said in a statement on Saturday.

Tembin struck less than a week after Tropical Storm Kai-Tek, which left more than 50 people dead in the central Philippines.

The national weather service said in a bulletin late on Saturday that Tembin has made a second landfall on Balabac, an island in western Philippines.

The Philippines is battered by around 20 major storms each year on average.

But Mindanao Island, home to 20 million people, is rarely hit because of its location close to the equator.

In 2011, more than 1,249 people were killed when Tropical Storm Washi hit the island. The storm unleashed devastating flash floods and landslides in areas where the natural forest had been logged or converted into pineapple plantations.


* http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/12/deadly-flooding-landslides-hit-philippines-171223092530905.html

More than 200 killed in Philippines mudslides and floods as storm hits

Rescue operations under way on the island of Mindanao to find dozens of people reported missing after storm struck area.

A tropical storm in the Philippines has triggered mudslides and floods killing more than 200 people with many others reported missing, police and disaster officials said on Saturday.

The casualties from storm Tembin, most of which occurred on Friday, were all on the main southern island of Mindanao.

A search and rescue operation is underway for more than 30 people swept away by flash floods in the fishing village of Anungan in the south-east of the island, where five bodies have already been recovered.

“The floodwaters from the mountain came down so fast and swept away people and houses,” said Bong Edding, mayor of Sibuco in Zamboanga del Norte province. “It’s really sad because Christmas is just a few days away, but these things happen beyond our control.”

Edding blamed years of logging in the mountains near Anungan for the tragedy, adding that he and other officials would move to halt the logging operations.

“We’re are still trying to confirm reports of a farming village buried by a mudslide,” said Ryan Cabus, an official in Tubod town.

He said power and communication lines to the area had been cut, complicating rescue efforts.

Tembin, known locally as Vinta, strengthened over the Sulu sea and picked up speed late on Saturday, packing maximum sustained winds of 65 miles (105 kph) and gusts of up to 90 mph (145 kph). It is forecast to move off toward the South China Sea on Sunday.

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

Local police said 135 people were dead and 72 were missing in the northern section of Mindanao, where floodwaters from a mountain had swept away several riverside houses and villagers. Another 47 were dead and 72 missing in the Zamboanga peninsula towns of Sibuco and Salug.

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

The Philippines is battered by about 20 typhoons every year, bringing death and destruction, usually to the poorest communities of the south-east Asian country.

A ferry sank off north-east Quezon province Thursday after being battered by fierce winds and waves, leaving at least five people dead. More than 250 passengers and crewmen were rescued.

Last week, 46 people were killed in the central Philippines when a typhoon hit. Last Christmas a powerful typhoon hit the densely populated area around Manila and in 2013 super typhoon Haiyan killed nearly 8,000 people and left 200,000 families homeless.

Elsewhere in the country at least 37 people, including call centre staff from an American firm, are believed to have perished in a fire that tore through a shopping mall in the southern city of Davao, local authorities said on Sunday.

Mattha Busby and agencies

* The Guardian. Sun 24 Dec ‘17 06.41 GMT First published on Sat 23 Dec ‘17 06.50 GMT

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