The death toll from a tropical storm in the southern Philippines climbed swiftly to 133 on Saturday, as rescuers pulled dozens of bodies from a swollen river, police said.
As severe Tropical Storm Vinta made a landfall in Davao Oriental early Friday morning, hundreds of families residing in flood-prone areas here left their homes and sought shelter in the city's evacuation centers.
Most of the deaths from Tropical Storm Tembin were in the poor provinces of Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur, and on the Zamboanga Peninsula, according to Romina Marasigan from the government's disaster-response agency. "They thought it was a weak storm but it dumped more rains".
"We're still trying to confirm reports of a farming village buried by a mudslide", said Ryan Cabus, an official in Tubod, Lanao del Norte.
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Saturday, and staff who live on the site immediately started moving animals to safety, officials said. Dominic Jermey, director general for ZSL, said some staff were treated for smoke inhalation and shock.
Emergency workers, soldiers, police and volunteers were being mobilized to search for survivors, clear debris, and restore power and communications.
Vinta is forecast to move west at 20 kph.
Lanao del Norte suffered the most number of deaths at 62, including two deaths in Iligan City, followed by Zamboanga del Norte at 46.
"The floodwaters from the mountain came down so fast and swept away people and houses", Edding said. But Mindanao, home to 20 million people, is rarely hit by these cyclones.
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Floodwaters have displaced over 50,000 people in at least three provinces.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque, in a statement, said it is saddening that the events, especially the onslaught of Vinta happened a few days before Christmas.
In 2013, super typhoon Haiyan killed almost 8,000 people and left 200,000 families homeless.
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