'Pablo' death toll rises to 115
MANILA - The death toll from a powerful typhoon that struck the Philippines has risen to 115, as confirmation of more victims filtered in from isolated areas, disaster relief officials said Wednesday.
Forty-nine people were killed in the mudslide- and flood-hit southern mountain town of New Bataan while 51 others are dead on Mindanao island's east coast, regional military spokesman lieutenant colonel Lyndon Paniza said.
The dead in New Bataan included a soldier taking part in rescue operations after typhoon "Pablo" (international name: Bopha) ravaged the island on Tuesday, he told reporters.
Six other Army men from the same unit are missing and three were injured, he told reporters.
Twelve others were killed in other parts of Mindanao, while three deaths were recorded across the central Visayas region, civil defense office personnel told AFP.
Officials earlier said they feared the toll would rise further in the day as rescuers begin reaching isolated areas where dozens were reported to be missing.
Pablo to exit PAR on Thursday
Pablo further weakened after making landfall in northern Palawan, weather bureau PAGASA said.
No more area in Mindanao is under any public storm warning signal as the typhoon continued to move towards the West Philippine Sea, according to PAGASA's 11 a.m. weather bulletin.
From its previous wind strength of 130 kilometers per hour (kph), Pablo is now packing maximum sustained winds of 120 kph near the center and gusts of up to 150 kph.
The typhoon also slowed down, moving northwest at 19 kph. With this speed and direction, "Pablo" is expected to exit the Philippine Area of Responsibility on Thursday evening.
At least 86,912 people were forced to flee their homes as Pablo battered parts of Visayas and Mindanao.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said 86,912 people are in 162 evacuation centers as of 6 a.m. today.
Most of the evacuees came from the Caraga region (65,923), followed by Northern Mindanao (12,985), Davao Region (4,155) and Eastern Visayas (3,849). With Agence France-Presse