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DAVAO CITY, the Philippines - Scores of people have been killed or missing and over 50,000 displaced after severe tropical storm Tembin pounded southern Philippines, flooding large swaths of the region and causing landslides, officials said Saturday.
In the two provinces of Lanao, at least 22 bodies have been pulled out while over 40 are still missing as landslides buried houses along a national road, said Mujiv Hataman, governor for the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao.
In the town of Salvador, Lanao del Norte province, disaster officials said they were still verifying reports that about 20 people have been swept away as floodwaters swamped many communities there after Tembin dumped torrential rains in the region.
The initial death toll figures are expected to rise as more data trickle in from the storm-affected villages and towns.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Tembin came ashore at around 1:25 am local time Friday in the eastern Mindanao town of Cateel, packing winds of up to 125 km per hour (kph).
The storm barreled to the west and its 400-km wide rain band drenched most of the country"s second largest island.
In the western peninsula of Zamboanga del Norte, authorities said they were still checking on reports that 30 people drowned due to storm surges in the coastal town of Sibuco.
Elsewhere, three fishermen have been reported missing off the coast of San Isidro town in Davao Oriental province, but police said on Saturday that the fishermen have returned safely to shore.
Floodwaters have displaced over 50,000 people in at least three provinces and Davao, the home city of President Rodrigo Duterte, said Leoncio Cirunay, regional head of the office of civil defense.
Storm-induced floods and landslides also killed two other people in two other Mindanao regions, officials said.
At least 21 flights have also been cancelled at the Manila International Airport, mostly domestic trips to the affected regions.
Port authorities said over 6,000 passengers were stranded in various ports across the archipelago nation.
The state weather bureau said Tembin, which re-intensified into a tropical storm after weakening into a tropical depression while traversing the southern Philippines, is expected to be out of the country by Christmas Day.
The storm was last spotted 245 km west-northwest of Zamboanga City with winds of up to 80 kph near the center and gusts of up to 90 kph on Saturday.
The weather disturbance was moving west at 20 kph.
At least 20 typhoons and storms batter the Philippines every year. Tembin is the 22nd to enter the country this year.
Tembin came a few days after powerful storm Kai-Tak battered most of the central Philippines and parts of the Philippine main Luzon Island last Saturday, killing at least 41.
Two of the most destructive typhoons that hit the country in the last 20 years made landfall and devastated Mindanao in 2011 and 2012.