Philippines’ death toll from Tropical Storm Nalgae climbs to 72

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MANILA: The Philippines has recorded 72 deaths from Tropical Storm Nalgae which caused floods and landslides in southern provinces, the country’s disaster agency said on Saturday.

Maguindanao province was the most affected with 67 people dead, while two were killed in Sultan Kudarat, another two in South Cotabato and the rest of the casualties spread across the Visayas region in central Philippines, agency spokesperson Bernardo Rafaelito Alejandro told the DZMM radio station.

There were also 33 injured and 14 missing persons, he said.

The tropical storm, which has maximum sustained winds of 95 kilometres (59 miles) per hour and gusts of up to 160 kph (99.4 mph), made landfall in the eastern Catanduanes province early on Saturday.

It will bring heavy and at times torrential rains over the capital region and nearby provinces on Saturday as it cuts through the main Luzon island and heads to the South China Sea, the state weather agency said in its latest bulletin.

On Friday, search and rescue teams pulled bodies from water and thick mud after Nalgae triggered flooding and landslides.

“We are now gathering all rescue teams and will conduct a briefing before deployment,” Nasrullah Imam, disaster agency official at Maguindanao province, said. “It’s no longer raining so this will help our search and operation.”

An average of 20 tropical storms hit the Philippines annually.