Tropical storm slams into Philippines, death toll rises to 72

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Severe Tropical Storm Nalgae slammed into the Philippines on Saturday, after unleashing flash floods and landslides that left at least 72 people dead, officials said.

Nalgae pounded the archipelago nation’s main island of Luzon with maximum winds of 95 kilome-tres (59 miles) an hour after making landfall on the sparsely populated Catanduanes island before dawn.

Heavy rains triggered by the approaching storm began Thursday in the southern Philippines, the state weather service said, inundating mostly rural areas on Mindanao island.

That was followed by landslides and flooding, with fast-moving, debris-laden waters sweeping away entire families in some areas.

By Saturday morning, the death toll had risen to 72, said the country’s civil defence director, Rafaelito Alejandro.

At least 14 people were still missing, he added. Rescuers are focusing on the village of Kusiong, where dozens of bodies were recovered on Friday after the floods hit.

In recent years, flash floods with mud and debris from largely deforested mountainsides have been among the deadliest hazards posed by typhoons in the Philippines. The state weather service said Nalgae could hit the capital Manila.—AFP

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