MANILA – The tropical storm Tembin, which has intensified into a typhoon, left the Philippines on Sunday, leaving around 200 killed and dozens missing on the island of Mindanao, in the south of the country.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration said on Sunday morning in its latest bulletin that Tembin was going deep into the South China Sea and was out of the Philippines’ area of influence, and as a result had ended the typhoon alert in the country.
PAGASA said that Tembin, on its way out of the country, had traversed the southern part of the island of Palawan – where it arrived with sustained winds of 120 kilometers per hour (74.5 miles per hours) and gusts of 145 kilometers per hour – where there is still a possibility of moderate or heavy rainfall in the next few hours.
The storm, known as “Vinta” in the Philippines, reached Palawan after passing through the island of Mindanao, the second largest of the Philippine archipelago, where a state of calamity has been declared in several areas.
Authorities expect the death toll, provisionally at around 200, to rise during the next few hours, as rescue operations continue and emergency teams reach areas that have been cut off by the floods.
The worst affected is the province of Lanao del Norte, where floods and landslides have caused at least 127 deaths, followed by the neighboring Zamboanga del Norte province, where at least 59 people may have died, according to local media.
Some 150 people have been missing in the affected areas, according to the police, while some 70,000 have taken shelter in evacuation centers, according to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
Tembin hit the country two days after tropical storm Kai-Tak had left 41 dead, 45 missing and tens of thousands evacuated in the central part of the archipelago.
“It is unfortunate that another tropical cyclone, Vinta, made its presence felt so near Christmas,” said presidential office spokesperson Harry Roque.