Floods, Landslides Kill at Least 9 People in Southern Philippines

Jeoffrey Maitem and Froilan Gallardo
Cotabato and Cagayan de Oro, Philippines
180214-PH-flood-620.jpg Philippine rescuers guide people across a swollen river a day after Tropical Storm Sanba struck Carrascal town in Surigao del Sur province on the southern island of Mindanao, Feb. 14, 2018.

Four children were among at least nine people killed in heavy rain and flooding caused by a tropical storm in the southern Philippines, disaster relief officials said Wednesday.

Tropical Storm Sanba slammed into the east coast of southern Mindanao island Tuesday morning, churning winds of 55 kph (34 mph) and gusts of up to 75 kph (47 mph), the state weather bureau said.

Nine people had died, including three in a landslide in rain-soaked mountainous areas of Carrascal, a town in Surigao del Sur province, said Mita Chuchi Lim, regional director of the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

Sixty-four homes were destroyed and thousands of families across the southern region were displaced, she said.

“Relief operations went into high gear at different evacuation centers spread all over the region,” Lim said.

The landslide in Carrascal buried a home, killing a mother and her two children, aged 4 and 6, the town’s police chief, Sen. Inspector James Alindugao, said.

“There are areas flooded right now and our rescue mission is ongoing,” he said.

In the nearby village of Babuyan, a 10-year-old boy and a baby were killed in landslides.

Mina Marasigan, spokeswoman for the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, said more than 8,968 families were evacuated in the provinces of Surigao del Sur and Surigao del Norte.

“We are coordinating with the local government units to assist the people affected by the storm by providing them family food packs and non-food items,” she said.

Marasigan said 1,829 people were staying in 17 evacuation centers scattered around the region. Thousands of ferry passengers were stranded in ports after the Coast Guard grounded the boats from sailing in rough seas.

The storm was expected to leave the Philippines on Thursday.

Sanba is the second deadly storm to hit the region in less than two months. On Dec. 24, 2017, at least 200 people died when Tropical Storm Tembin battered Mindanao.

In 2013, Super Typhoon Yolanda slammed into the country, cutting a westward path of destruction that left more than 6,300 people dead.


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