MANILA, Philippines At least 43 villagers and soldiers drowned in a southern Philippine town Tuesday when torrents of water dumped by a powerful typhoon cascaded down a mountain, engulfing emergency shelters and an army truck, officials said. The deaths raised the toll from one of the strongest storms to hit the country this year to at least 74.
Gov. Arturo Uy said rain from Typhoon Bopha accumulated atop a mountain and then burst down on Andap village in New Bataan town in hard-hit Compostela Valley province.
The victims included villagers who had fled from their homes to a school and village hall, which were then swamped by the flash flood.
An army truck carrying soldiers and villagers was washed away, according to Uy and army officials.
“They thought that they were already secure in a safe area, but they didn’t know the torrents of water would go their way,” Uy told DZBB radio.
He said the confirmed death toll in the town was likely to rise because several other bodies could not immediately be retrieved from floodwaters strewn with huge logs and debris.