Vinta death toll in Lanao del Norte mountain village rises to 29

MANILA, Philippines – More bodies were dug up on Monday, December 25, from the mountain village in Tubod, Lanao del Norte that suffered a flash flood last week due to Severe Tropical Storm Vinta (Tembin).

The death toll in the small town in the southern Philippines rose to 29 while at least 16 more residents remain missing, according to municipal disaster management chief Vicmar Paloma.

Four others were brought to the hospital.

"We will not yet end search and retrieval. It will resume tomorrow (Tuesday, December 26)," Paloma told Rappler.

Vinta dumped heavy rain that caused flash floods in communities along the Cabuyao River late Friday morning, December 22. In Barangay Dalama in Tubod, Paloma said floods totally destroyed more than a hundred homes. (READ: Flash floods wipe out village in Lanao del Norte due to Vinta)

Similar tragedy hit communities in the path of Vinta. The overall death toll reached at least 240 as of Monday afternoon, with many of the fatalities from Lanao del Norte.

Paloma estimated the cost of Vinta's damage to Tubod's local infrastructure and agriculture at about P28 million. A hanging bridge in the town collapsed; cornfields, banana plantations, and mango tree farms were flooded; and various animals, including horses, drowned.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said it is probing the failure to implement forced evacuation in affected areas.

In Tubod, the village chief said he instructed the residents to evacuate, according to Paloma. 

"Kampante lang talaga ang residents kasi mahina ang ulan at never pa nila na-experience ang ganoon (The residents were complacent because the rain wasn't that heavy and they hadn't experienced something like that before). Most of them didn't leave right away," Paloma said. – Rappler.com