By Ria Novosti
The death toll from Typhoon Pablo (Bopha) that swept through the southern Philippines on Tuesday has risen to 274 people, government officials reported on Wednesday.
Pablo, said to be among the strongest to hit the south of the country in the past 20 years, made landfall on the east coast of Mindanao Island, home to 10 million people, early on Tuesday. The typhoon brought gusts of up to 130 miles per hour (210 kph) and heavy rain. Communications and power supplies have been cut across vast areas of the island.
The death toll will most likely continue to climb as rescuers slowly reach hard-hit areas that have been isolated by landslides and floods.
According to the latest bulletin of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), 217,850 people have been affected in 22 provinces in the Visayas and Mindanao regions that were directly hit by Pablo.
At least 350 people were injured and 300 are listed as missing, while about 180,000 sought refuge in some 1,000 shelters set up by emergency services.
The typhoon grounded over 150 flights and over 4,000 of ferry passengers are still stranded at ports.
The eye of the storm is moving through northern Palawan heading northwest at 9 mph (15 kph), the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) reported.
Pablo is still packing maximum sustained winds of 74 mph (120 kph) with gusts of up to 93 mph (150 kph), Pagasa said.