Thousands Spend Christmas In Shelters After Philippine Storm





Thousands of villagers in the southern Philippines spent their Christmas morning in emergency shelters Monday as the region dealt with the aftermath of one of the deadliest storms to hit the country this year.

Tropical Storm Tembin unleashed landslides and flash floods that left at least 120 people dead and 160 missing, mostly in the hard-hit provinces of Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur and on the Zamboanga Peninsula. It strengthened into a typhoon before blowing out of the country Sunday and into the South China Sea.




“We’re really sad that we have this news especially because our countrymen were looking to celebrate Christmas,” Marina Marasigan of the government’s disaster-response agency told a televised news conference.

Intense rainfall in the mountains most likely caused landslides that blocked rainwater, Marasigan said. When the naturally formed dams broke from the pressure, torrents of rainwater smashed into the villages below.

Mayor Bong Edding of Sibuco town blamed logging operations in the mountains for a flash food that swept away houses with more than 30 residents. Five bodies have been recovered so far in the village and a search and rescue operation was continuing.

A large number of dead and missing was also reported in Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur provinces, where floodwaters from a mountain washed away several riverside houses.

Marasigan asked the public to heed storm warnings and evacuation orders to avoid casualties.




Thousands of villagers fled to emergency shelters and more than 500 passengers remained stranded in airports and seaports after the coast guard prohibited ferries from venturing out in the rough seas and several flights were canceled as the storm raged Saturday.


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