Video: Devastating flood in Philippines; 72 death

The Office of Civil Defense reported 72 dead, 14 missing, and 33 injured, but civil defense officials admitted that rescue teams sent to the flood-hit south of the country on Friday had made a mistake in their reporting. The wrong death toll was given.

"When we gathered the reports at 6 a.m. this morning, we learned that there were only 40 dead, 31 injured, and 15 missings," Naguib Sinarimbo, the southern region's civil defense chief, said on Saturday.

The national civil defense chief, Rafaelito Alejandro, confirmed the lower figure at a news conference in Manila, saying 40 bodies had been recovered from the disaster in the southern region of Mindanao. Alejandro said five other people had been killed elsewhere in the country.

Tropical Storm Nalga hit the country's main island of Luzon with maximum winds of 95 km per hour after landfall on the sparsely populated Catanduanes Island before dawn.

Heavy rains triggered by the oncoming storm began in the southern Philippines on Thursday, flooding much of the countryside on the island of Mindanao, the state weather service said.

This was followed by landslides, floods, strong currents, and debris-laden waters that washed away entire families in some areas and damaged nearly 500 homes.

In recent years, flash floods with mud and debris from extensively deforested mountains have been one of the deadliest threats posed by typhoons in the Philippines.

Flooding was also reported in several areas of the central Philippines. There is no report of any death there.

Rescuers are focusing on the village of Kusiang, where several bodies were recovered after floods hit it on Friday.

Photos released by the Coastguard show rescuers using an old refrigerator as an improvised boat to pull children from a flooded community on the central island of Leyte.

The state weather service said Nalgai could hit the capital Manila, a sprawling metropolis of more than 13 million people, causing "heavy, sometimes torrential rains."

"Extensive flooding and rain-induced landslides expected" while "minimum to moderate risk of storm surge" or heavy waves hitting coastal areas.

"Based on our estimates, it's really strong, so we prepared for it," Alejandro said. 5,000 rescuers were on standby.

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