MANILA, Philippines—The death toll from the powerful Typhoon “Pablo” (international name Bopha) climbed to at least 140, as rescuers battled to reach areas cut off in flash floods and mudslides, officials said Wednesday.
The 16th storm to enter the Philippines this year has so far left 51 people killed in flash floods in New Bataan, Compostela Valley, with more villagers still missing after being swept away by strong currents, the military said.
Three of the 51 fatalities were soldiers.
In Davao Oriental, 81 deaths were reported.
The Provincial Disaster Response and Reduction Management Center in Davao Oriental said the municipality of Baganga, where Pablo made landfall, recorded the biggest number of deaths so far, with 31, followed by the adjacent town of Cateel with 30.
The provincial disaster center report said 95 people were injured in Cateel while 51 were hurt in Baganga.
Caraga recorded six deaths from “Pablo”, while six more fatalities were listed in the provinces of Misamis Oriental and Occidental, Siquijor and Bukidnon.
A total of 21 persons were reported missing in the towns of Caraga, Baganga and Cateel, it added.
The storm caused 24,000 families or 120,000 persons in Eastern Visayas, Northern Mindanao, Davao region and Caraga to flee their homes. Most of the evacuees were from Surigao del Sur with over 50,000.
The towns of Baganga, Cateel and Boston remained inaccessible by land because the Mandulog Bridge in Caraga collapsed at the height of the storm.
“There’s still no electricity there. The communication lines are still down,” said Col. Leopoldo Galon, chief of the civil relations group of the military’s Eastern Mindanao Command.
Heavy to intense rains dumped by Pablo caused suspension of classes, power outages, and communication interruption in the areas of Central Visayas, Northern Mindanao, Davao region, Caraga and Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
Nearly 50 roundtrip domestic flights by Cebu Pacific Air and Zest Air were cancelled Wednesday.
As of latest, Pablo weakened further as it hovered over Northern Palawan. With a report from Nico Alconaba, Inquirer Mindanao
Originally posted at 10:27 am | Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012