A tropical storm in the southern Philippines unleashed flash floods that swept away people and houses and set off landslides, reportedly leaving more than 120 people dead and 160 others missing, officials said Saturday. Most of the deaths from Tropical Storm Tembin were in the hard-hit provinces of Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur and on the Zamboanga Peninsula, according to an initial government report on storm casualties. The AP reports it's the latest disaster to hit the Philippines, which is battered by about 20 typhoons and storms each year.
Lanao del Norte officials reported the highest death toll at 64 with 139 missing followed by Zamboanga del Norte province, where officials reported at least 29 storm deaths with 19 others missing. The storm left 21 dead and one missing in the lakeside province of Lanao del Sur, according to the Department of Interior and Local Government. Thousands of villagers moved to emergency shelters and thousands more were stranded in airports and seaports after the coast guard prohibited ferries from venturing out in the rough seas and several flights were canceled. Tembin, known locally as Vinta, strengthened and picked up speed late Saturday, packing maximum sustained winds of 65mph and gusts of up to 90mph. It struck the southern section of western Palawan province late Saturday and is forecast to blow away from the southern Philippines on Sunday.