The toll in the tropical storm that has lashed southern Philippines since Friday rose to 200 on Sunday while 159 people are still missing, Reuters reported, quoting the police.
The storm, Tembin, has triggered mudslides and floods in the country’s second-largest island of Mindanao, which is rarely hit by typhoons. Mudslides completely wiped out Dalama, a mountain village of about 2,000 people.
“The people received ample warnings,” police chief of Salvador town, Wilson Mislores, was quoted as saying. “But as we are rarely hit by typhoons, people living near rivers did not take them seriously.”
The toll rose after rescuers found more bodies from a river. The bodies had been swept downstream from Salvador. Lanao del Norte, the province in which Salvador is located, alone has 127 dead and 72 missing.
Landslides have blocked rescue and relief operations in some regions.
“It is unfortunate that another tropical cyclone...made its presence felt so near Christmas,” said Harry Roque, the spokesperson of President Rodrigo Duterte.