The death toll from Typhoon Skip rose to 143 Thursday as casualty reports continued to trickle in from outlying areas, with another 161 people missing and more than 1 million forced from their homes.
News accounts reaching relief agencies and the military showed 39 previously unreported deaths on the remote island of Romblon, 170 miles south of Manila, which was hit directly by Skip's 110-mph winds early in the week.The Coast Guard meanwhile reported it had found poorly trained and incompetent crews working on vessels owned by Sulpicio Lines, operators of the ferry Dona Marilyn that sank with 501 people aboard during Typhoon Ruby Oct. 24.
The sketchy reports to the military Office of Civil Defense from Romblon were the first from the area since Skip roared from the Pacific Ocean across the central Visayan region. Skip left the country Wednesday and headed into the South China Sea.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development said another 37 people, mostly drowning victims, were reported to have died on the southwestern island of Palawan, where 121 people were reported missing. The Office of Civil Defense said 40 people were missing elsewhere in the country.
There were 26 people killed in the Bicol peninsula, 200 miles southeast of Manila, most of them buried by rain-induced mudslides.
Another 41 people were drowned by rampaging floodwaters, hit by flying projectiles or battered to death by fallen trees in other parts of the country, relief officials said.
DSWD spokesperson Lulu Villasin said more than 1 million people fled to churches and school buildings set up as evacuation centers. Property damage was estimated at $33.3 million, a civil defense spokesman said.
Skip aggravated the havoc caused two weeks earlier by Typhoon Ruby, which took the lives of at least 300 people including 150 found dead after the sinking of the Dona Marilyn.