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Dumaguete City, PhilippinesWednesday, December 5, 2012
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Death toll rises to 50

Typhoon "Pablo" (international name: Bopha) has slightly accelerated as it continues to move towards Siquijor-Negros Oriental area, and 13 areas of the country were placed under public storm warning signal number 3, the state weather bureau said.

Packed with strong winds, heavy rains and thunderstorms, “Pablo” already claimed the lives of around 50 people, affected 11,871 families, or 57,501 individuals, demolished houses and stranded hundreds of passengers in the Visayas and Mindanao.

Weather forecaster Bernie de Leon said that, as of 5 p.m. yesterday, "Pablo" was located at 30 km southeast of Dumaguete City (9.1°N, 123.4°E) with maximum sustained winds of 160 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 195 kph.

He said “Pablo” accelerated from 20 kph yesterday morning to 24 kph in the afternoon.

Of the fatalities, 43 were from New Bataan in Compostela Valley where flashflood affected about 80 percent of the community, and an undetermined number of persons remained missing.

“I've counted 43 bodies on the floor," local television station ABS-CBN reporter Vina Araneta told the station by telephone from a government building in New Bataan town on the southern island of Mindanao.

Officials, who could not immediately confirm the television report, earlier said eight other people were killed by the cyclone in other areas.

The other fatalities were one each in Siquijor; Tarragona, Manay and Baganga, all of Davao Oriental, and three in Caraga; while scores were still missing in Montevista, Compostela Valley, Col. Leonardo Guerrero, commander of the 701st Infantry Brigade based in Davao Region, said.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council reported that of the affected families, 802 were in Eastern Visayas, 2,974 in Northern Mindanao, 659 in Davao Region and 7,436 in Caraga Region.

Around 11,059 families, or 53,441 persons, were housed at 94 evacuation centers, with 16 in Eastern Visayas, 38 in Northern Mindanao, one in Davao Region and 39 in Caraga.

The NDRRMC said that, as of yesterday, classes in all levels were suspended in Dumaguete City, Mandaue and Cebu cities, Caraga Region, and all places in Region 11 under storm warning signal numbers 2 and 3.

Some 3,268 passengers were stranded in various ports in the country, and 148 rolling cargoes, 93 vessels and 49 motor bancas were prevented from sailing.

Areas under storm signal no. 3, with winds of 101-185 kph expected in at least 18 hours, were Negros Oriental, southern Negros Occidental, Iloilo, Guimaras, Antique, northern Palawan including the Calamian Group of Islands, Bohol, Siquijor, southern Cebu, Lanao del Norte, Misamis Occidental and Zamboanga del Norte.

Those under warning signal number 2 (61-100 kph winds) were the rest of Negros Occidental, Aklan, Capiz, rest of Cebu, including Camotes Island, rest of Palawan, Misamis Oriental, Agusan del Norte, Bukidnon, Lanao del Sur, Zamboanga del Sur, including Sibugay, and Camiguin.

Public storm warning signal number 1 (30-60 kph winds) was hoisted over Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Romblon, Leyte including Biliran, southern Leyte, Surigao del Norte including Siargao, Surigao del Sur, Dinagat, Agusan del Sur, Davao del Norte, Compostela Valley, North Cotabato and Maguindanao.

Residents living in low lying and mountainous areas under public storm warning signals are alerted against possible flashfloods and landslides; and residents in coastal areas under storm warning signals 2 and 3 are cautioned against big waves, or storm surges.

"Pablo" is expected to be at 140 km southwest of Coron, Palawan this afternoon; 450 km west of Subic, Zambales by Thursday afternoon; and 660 km northwest of Iba, Zambales by Friday afternoon.*PNA

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