Nearly 90 dead in mudslides, flooding triggered by Vinta – officials

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Pagasa satellite image showing weather conditions Saturday morning.

MANILA, Philippines — (UPDATE 2 – 1:12 p.m.) Nearly 90 have been killed and dozens are missing after tropical storm “Vinta” struck Mindanao, triggering mudslides and flooding, police and disaster officials said on Saturday.

The casualties were all on the main southern island, they said.

“We’re are still trying to confirm reports of a farming village buried by a mudslide due to heavy rains brought by the typhoon,” said Ryan Cabus, an official in Tubod town, Lanao del Norte.

After weakening into a tropical depression as it swept through eastern and northern Mindanao over the past two days, Vinta (Tembin) re-intensified into a tropical storm early Saturday, December 23, as it left the southern landmass headed for its last stop in the country, southern Palawan.

In its 5 a.m. bulletin, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration had tracked Vinta at 165 kilometers northwest of Zamboanga City packing winds of 75 kilometers per hour gusting to 90 kph as it moved west at 20 kph.

Tropical cyclone warning signal No. 2, meaning winds of 61-120 kph expected in 24 hours, is up over southern Palawan while signal No. 1, or winds of 30-60 kph n 36 hours, has been raised over the rest of Palawan, the western parts of Zamboanga del Norte and Zamboanga del Sur and Zamboanga Sibugay.

At least 10 persons were killed and 11 others were missing in the second district of Lanao del Sur, Governor Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao said.

“We have mobilized our emergency response team to rescue trapped civilians” in the towns of Bacolod-Kalawi, Balindong (Watu), Madalum and Tugaya, he said, adding the regional government expects the number of affected families to rise once reports from the province’s first district arrive.

Off Quezon province, five persons were confirmed dead and 252 passengers and crew rescued when a ferry capsized.

Vinta made landfall over Cateel, Davao Oriental as a severe tropical storm early in the morning of December 22.

Saturday, Pagasa forecast “scattered to widespread moderate to heavy rains will prevail over Palawan,” with light to moderate and, at times, heavy rains expected within the next 24 hours over the Bicol region, the Visayas, Mindanao and the rest of the Mimaropa region.

The weather bureau warned of possible floods and landslides and said sea travel remains risky in areas under tropical cyclone warning signals, the southern seaboard of the Mindoro provinces and the western seaboard of Aklan and Antique in Panay.

The rest of Luzon including Metro Manila will continue to be affected by scattered rains brought by the northeast monsoon but will otherwise experience no significant impact.

Vinta’s forecast positions until it leaves the Philippine area of responsibility follow:

  • 24 Hours (Sunday evening): 275 km southwest of Puerto Princesa City, Palawan(8.3°N, 116.7°E)
  • 48 Hours (Monday evening): 390 km southwest of Pagasa Island, Palawan (OUTSIDE PAR)(8.9°N, 111.3°E)

(with a report form Reuters | Darwin Wally Wee, Philippine News Agency)