More than 200 killed, 100 missing as Tropical Cyclone "Tembin" (Vinta) hits the Philippines

More than 200 killed, 100 missing as Tropical Cyclone

The death toll caused by Tropical Cyclone "Tembin," locally known as Vinta, rose to over 200 late Saturday (local time), December 23, 2017. There are still more than 100 people missing, authorities said. The storm hit the Philippines on Friday, December 22 but most of the reports came in mid-Saturday. The death toll is expected to rise as responders reach storm-hit areas.

According to data provided by the Philippine National Police in Northern Mindanao, at least 135 people have died in this region alone. 127 of the fatalities were in Lanao del Norte, 6 in Bukidnon, 1 in Iligan, and one in Misamis Occidental. Around 72 others remain missing in Northern Mindanao, the Rappler reports.

Up to 50 died in the Zamboanga Peninsula and 18 in Lanao del Sur, bringing the total number of fatalities across Mindanao to 203. National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) spokesperson Romina Marasigan confirmed 18 deaths in Sibuco, Zamboanga del Norte. Chief Inspector Helen Galvez, the spokesperson of Police Regional Office 9 in Zamboanga City, confirmed 19 deaths in Gutalac, 7 in Salug, one in Leon Postigo, and another one in Siocon.

A remote village of Dalama in Tubod, Lanao del Norte, was wiped out by flash floods around 11:00 local time Friday after heavy rains caused the Cabuyao river to overflow. Mudflow, mixed with rocks and uprooted trees, destroyed the community of 103 houses (population 2 000), killing 18 and leaving at least 27 missing. However, the death toll here is also expected to rise.

After ravaging Mindanao, Tembin (Vinta) entered the Sulu Sea and then hit Balabac, Palawan late Saturday evening (local time). Reports from this region are still coming in.

The storm hit the country less than a week after Tropical Storm "Kai-Tak" (Urduja) hit the central Philippines, leaving 54 dead and 24 missing.

Tembin is now tracking westward in region favorable for a steady increase in intensity. Peak intensity is expected at around 15:00 UTC on December 24 in the South China Sea. 

Tropical Storm Tembin JTWC forecast track on December 23, 2017

Tropical Storm "Tembin" JTWC forecast track at 15:00 UTC on December 23, 2017

The system will then start weakening and make landfall around 15:00 UTC on December 24 along the southern coast of Vietnam and emerge over the Gulf of Thailand. What's left of it will hit Thailand on December 26.

Featured image: Floods in Mindanao, Philippines - December 2017. Credit: PCG

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