Tropical storm Tembin or Vinta
Tropical storm Tembin or Vinta approaching Southern Philippines NASA GODDARD MODIS RAPID RESPONSE TEAM

The United Nations has expressed its willingness to provide support to local emergency operations to victims of tropical storm Tembin that killed 200 people and displacing 70,000 people in Mindanao.

More than half of the displaced civilians are billeted in evacuation centers.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said in a press statement that aside from their readiness to support the emergency operations in Mindanao, he also wishes a speedy recovery to the injured people. The three-day tropical storm destroyed houses, bridges, and flooded several communities, converting them into a floating village.

It was a sad Christmas for residents in some parts of Mindanao because they have to spend their Christmas in temporary shelters. A number of families will have to celebrate Christmas with lost loved ones or relatives.

Initially, the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs facilitated the setting up of 151 evacuation centers to billet victims of the ravaging storm. The UN also had local NGO partners in Mindanao who are assisting in this tragic situation this yuletide season.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte in his nationally televised Christmas message appealed to the people to help their countrymen in need.

Duterte said, "In the midst of all the revelry and festivity, may we also remember our brothers and sisters who are in need so that we can become instruments for the betterment of their lives."

Despite the government continuing response to search more bodies in communities with high incidence of landslides, the government is expressing high fears that the death toll would rise as the data begin to come in.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development continue to recruit more volunteers to help in the packing of food items to be distributed to victims of Tembin.

The tropical storm has also caused dozens of mudslides and contributed to the rise of water level of different rivers in the North-western part of Mindanao.

Local mayors claimed that they did their part to announce to their constituents to stay away from river banks but a number of residents did not heed their call.

Sibuco town Mayor Norbi Edding said that when his office knew that a deadly storm was coming, he appealed to his constituents to avoid staying near the river and seashore. 30 people died in Sibuco when a flash flood swept them away to their deaths.