By DJ Yap, Nikko Dizon – Blown in the wind. Deaths in flash floods.
That’s what happened in areas in Mindanao raked by powerful Typhoon “Pablo” before dawn Tuesday.
Pablo moved swiftly on its predicted path, sending roofs flying off houses, hectares of coconut trees tumbling, rivers bursting their banks, canceling flights and ferry services, church bells ringing and sirens wailing in a large part of Mindanao where the Category 5 storm passed.
Inquirer bureaus in Mindanao and Cebu, in reports attributed to local officials, and civil defense authorities put the initial death toll—mainly in flash floods—at 42 and another 24 unaccounted for. Most of the deaths were in New Bataan in Compostela Valley.
In Manila, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said two Army platoons with possibly 66 soldiers were unaccounted for.
Benito Ramos, NDRRMC executive director, said each platoon had 33 soldiers. He said the command post of Charlie Company of the 66th Infantry Battalion at Barangay (village) Andap in New Bataan was reportedly washed away in a flash flood.
Contact with the platoons had not been established as of 4 p.m.
But Gen. Ariel Bernardo, commander of the 10th Infantry Division, told the Inquirer by phone that reports reaching him indicated only six soldiers were missing from the two platoons.
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