At least 72 people have died and a further 14 people are missing from floods and landslides in the Philippines as Tropical Storm Nalgae tears through the country, authorities said Saturday.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. instructed officials to focus relief efforts on the southern region of Bangsamoro, where most of the fatalities have occurred, as the storm threatened to hit Manila later in the day.
The country's disaster response agency said heavy rains since Friday morning triggered landslides in the villages of Datu Odin Sinsuat and Datu Blah Sinsuat in Maguindanao Province, wiping out some villages. The landslides have damaged bridges and hampered rescue operations, it said.
Maguindanao official Cyrus Torrena said in a local radio interview that "a lot more people were buried in the mudslides" in Datu Blah Sinsuat.
Several other areas on the island of Mindanao and in the Visayas island group in central Philippines were also flooded, forcing thousands to evacuate.
The state weather agency said Nalgae has maintained its strength, packing maximum sustained winds of 95 kilometers per hour and gusts of up to 130 km per hour as it moved toward the island of Luzon.
Nalgae is the 16th tropical cyclone this year to hit the Philippines, which is located in the Pacific typhoon belt and is visited by an average of 20 typhoons annually.