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Philippines storm: Tembin strengthens to typhoon

By Daniel Uria
Tropical storm Tembin strengthened to a typhoon on Sunday morning as it continued to make its way through several Philippine islands on its way toward Vietnam. Photo by Jeoffrey Maitem/EPA
Tropical storm Tembin strengthened to a typhoon on Sunday morning as it continued to make its way through several Philippine islands on its way toward Vietnam. Photo by Jeoffrey Maitem/EPA

Dec. 24 (UPI) -- The powerful tropical storm that brought landslides and flooding to the Philippines strengthened to a typhoon on Sunday, weather officials said.

Typhoon Tembin -- known as Vinta in the Philippines -- reached sustained winds of 74 mph with gusts of up to 90 mph as it moved from Mindanao to other Philippine islands, according to the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical Astronomical Services Administration.

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Office of Civil Defense spokeswoman, Romina Marasigan, said at least 123 people were killed, 14 were injured and an additional 160 are missing as a result of the storm.

"Several locations have reported massive flooding which affected a lot of communities," Harold Clavite, director-general of the Philippines' information agency said. "We are still monitoring ongoing verification of dead and missing persons."

Richard Gordon, CEO of the Philippine Red Cross had earlier tweeted 156 people were dead, 291 were missing and 86 were injured.

About 70,000 people took shelter in 227 evacuation centers after the storm hit 389 villages across five regions in the Philippines, according to Clavite.

Tembin's center was 180 miles south of Pagasa Island early Sunday and is approaching Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, CNN meteorologist Jennifer Varian said.

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The storm is expected to reach Ho Chi Minh within the next 24 to 36 hours when it will likely have weakened to a tropical storm.

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