Scores of people were reported dead Tuesday as Typhoon Bopha deluged the southern Philippines, toppling trees and triggering landslides as heavy rains and blasting winds pounded the islands.
The Philippines national disaster agency confirmed at least four people had died from falling trees and drownings as of Tuesday night local time. Media reports put the death toll at more than 70, including at least 33 people who perished on the island of Mindanao as floodwaters abruptly burst onto the village of New Bataan in the Compostela Valley.
The unexpected torrent claimed the life of a Philippine army sergeant who was washed away along with his company commander, national disaster chief Benito Ramos told the Philippine Daily Inquirer. The commander was reportedly rescued but remained unconscious.
In another village in the storm-battered valley, three children were killed, buried in wall of mud and boulders that tumbled from a mountain, the Associated Press reported.
“The only thing we could do was to save ourselves. It was too late for us to rescue them,” survivor Valentin Pabilana told the AP.
The reported death toll was expected to rise further when stricken areas now barred by debris can be reached. Landslides shut down roads and bridges in several areas, including in the Compostela Valley.