Typhoon Tembin kills more than 100 in Mindanao, Philippines

World Today

A deadly Pacific storm has become even stronger. Weather forecasters say Tropical Storm Tembin is now a Typhoon that is headed toward Vietnam. The storm left at least 200 dead in the southern Philippines, wiping out entire villages with floods and landslides. Scores are still missing. Tens-of-thousands more are huddled in shelters after losing their homes.

CGTN’s Barnaby Lo reports.

It was far from the strongest storm to hit the Philippines this year, but Tropical Storm Tembin has proven to be the deadliest. Remote towns in the southern island of Mindanao, where residents appeared to have been caught off guard, were hit the hardest.

“Houses were getting flooded, but people could no longer exit their homes, so they got trapped by the strong waters,” one storm survivor recounted. “They were swept away.”

In the province of Lanao del Norte, an entire village is gone, after floodwater came rushing in with boulders and logs. On Saturday, first responders dug through mud and rubble, searching for residents who may have been buried alive.

This handout photograph released by Project LUPAD on December 23, 2017, shows an aerial image taken by a drone of the city of Cagayan de Oro on the Philippines’ island of Mindanao on December 22, 2017, after the area was struck by Tropical Storm Tembin. (AFP PHOTO/COURTESY OF PROJECT LUPAD)

“There used to be 103 houses here, but when the flash flood happened, everything was washed out,” according to a rescue worker. “All their homes and livelihoods gone. And we have 90 families, as of today, that are affected and listed to be in our evacuation centers.”

About 90 families are now in evacuation centers, but that is only one village. The storm swept across a vast portion of the country’s southern region, submerging a number of towns in floodwater, and burying others in landslides.

Thousands will now have to spend Christmas in evacuation centers, where they may be mourning instead of celebrating.