ABS-CBNnews.com | 12/05/2012 8:45 AM
MANILA, Philippines – At least 86,912 people were forced to flee their homes as typhoon "Pablo" (international name: Bopha) battered parts of Visayas and Mindanao.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said 86,912 people were being served in 162 evacuation centers as of 6 a.m. today.
Most of the evacuees came from Caraga region (65,923), followed by Northern Mindanao (12,985), Davao Region (4,155) and Eastern Visayas (3,849).
At least 20,068 people, meanwhile, are currently being served outside evacuation centers.
The NDRRMC said a total of 120,627 people were affected by the typhoon.
As of 6 a.m., at least 4,963 passengers, 527 rolling cargoes, 152 vessels and 59 motorboats were stranded in ports all over the country.
Pablo heads for Palawan
PAGASA said Pablo weakened further as it moved towards northern Palawan.
From its previous wind strength of 140 kilometers per hour on Tuesday evening, Pablo is now packing maximum sustained winds of 130 kph near the center and gusts of up to 160 kph.
Northern Palawan and Calamian Groups of Islands were placed under public storm warning signal number 3 as the typhoon heads towards West Philippine Sea. These areas should expect 101-185 kph winds.
PAGASA said Pablo has maintained its speed, moving west-northwest at 24 kph.
PAGASA forecaster Chris Perez said the rains that Pablo was bringing was comparable to what tropical "Sendong" brought over the region last year.
However, Perez said it helped that Pablo was moving faster, avoiding more destruction.
With its current and speed and direction, Pablo is expected to exit the Philippine Area of Responsibility on Thursday morning.
In New Bataan town in Compostela Valley, 43 people died when flash floods swept away an Army patrol base, a landslide hit a community, and trees fell on people at the height of the typhoon.
The typhoon also left dead at least 29 people in Davao Oriental province.
Twenty-three people died in Cateel town alone because of a flash flood caused by a storm surge, provincial police director Supt. Romil Mitra said. Three were killed in Caraga, and three died in Banganga, Tarragona, and Manay.
Three people also died in Surigao del Sur, according to police chief Supt. Ranier Perlas.
One of the fatalities, 68-year-old Rosita Amundio, died when a coconut tree fell on her house.
Two more were killed in Lingig, near Surigao del Sur's boundary with Davao Oriental, and five people died in Trento town in Agusan del Sur.
More than 53,000 people had moved into nearly 1,000 government shelters by early Tuesday, the NDRRMC said.