Rescuers in the Philippines searched on Sunday for survivors of a storm that triggered floods and landslides and killed about 200 people, left scores missing and thousands homeless, most of whom apparently ignored warnings to move to safety.
The Philippines is battered by about 20 typhoons a year and warnings are routinely issued, but the level of destruction wrought by tropical storm Tembin on the southern island of Mindanao from late on Friday came as a surprise, reports Reuters.
“The figure could increase as we continue to received reports from the field as the weather improves,” said a police spokesman on Mindanao, Superintendent Lemuel Gonda, referring to the death toll.
“We are slowly restoring power and communications in affected areas.”
Disaster officials said 159 people were listed as missing while about 70,000 had been forced from their homes.
Soldiers and police joined emergency workers and volunteers to search for survivors and victims, clear debris and restore power and communications.
Disaster officials said many villagers had ignored warnings to leave coastal areas and move away from riverbanks, and got swept away when flash floods and landslides struck.
The storm was moving west on Sunday, over some outlying Philippine islands and the South China Sea toward southern Vietnam.
It was gathering strength as it moved at a speed of about 20 kph (12 mph), while packing winds of up 120 kph (74 mph).