At least 90 dead in mudslides, flooding as 'Vinta' hits Mindanao

Reuters

Posted at Dec 23 2017 01:34 PM | Updated as of Dec 23 2017 06:18 PM

Rescuers pluck residents from a rooftop in Barangay Macasandig, Cagayan de Oro City as rains triggered by Tropical Storm Vinta caused the Cagayan de Oro River to overflow. Froilan Gallardo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA (UPDATE) - A tropical storm in the Philippines triggered mudslides and flooding that killed at least 90 people while dozens remain missing, police and disaster officials said on Saturday.

The deaths were reported on the main southern island of Mindanao after Tropical Storm Vinta hit before dawn Friday, authorities said.

"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.

The weather bureau said the storm had gathered strength over the Sulu Sea and was packing winds of up to 80 kph and moving west at 20 kph.

It was heading out over the sea by mid-day on Saturday and would have moved clear of the Philippines by Monday, it said.

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

The nearly 90 deaths were reported in various places including 39 in Tubod, El Salvador and Munai towns in Lanao del Norte province.

In Zamboanga del Norte province, police said at least 47 were reported killed due to severe flooding and a landslide.

Three people were killed in Bukidnon province, while officials in Lanao del Sur province said seven people had drowned in flash floods there.

Sixty-four people were reported missing in floods and landslides, according to a tally of reports from officials and police.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque condoled with Filipinos affected by the calamity. 

"It is unfortunate that another tropical cyclone, Vinta, made its presence felt so near Christmas. We in the national government shall continue to provide assistance to affected communities," Roque said in a statement.

Roque assured typhoon victims that relief operations amounting to P735.06 million are underway.

"Our DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) field offices in the affected regions have activated their quick response teams and are coordinating closely with concerned local government units (LGUs) to immediately respond to the needs of the affected families," the statement read.

The Philippines is battered by about 20 typhoons every year, bringing death and destruction usually to the poorest communities.

Last week, 46 people were killed in central Philippines when Tropical Storm Urduja hit the Visayas.