MANILA, Philippines, Dec 25, (Agencies): Tens of thousands of villagers in the southern Philippines spent their Christmas morning in emergency shelters Monday as the region dealt with the aftermath of a powerful storm that left more than 200 people dead. Tropical Storm Tembin unleashed landslides and flash floods 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 into the South China Sea toward Vietnam.
The death toll across the southern Philippines has climbed to 240 with scores of others still missing, officials said Monday. Civil defence officials said the number of confirmed deaths from Tembin on Mindanao’s Zamboanga peninsula had risen to 78, while the death toll in Lanao del Sur province on the island went up to 27.
The storm killed 135 others in the northern section of the island, police said Monday, a figure that was unchanged from a day earlier. Rescuers are still looking for 107 people in these three areas. Many were feared killed by mudslides and flash floods that buried or swept away hundreds of houses last weekend. Civil defence officials said some 13,000 Mindanao families — at least 52,000 people — remained in evacuation camps on Christmas Day, many with few if any possessions left.