Philippines Flood/Landside Death Toll Rises to 67 With 100s Feared Missing

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Courtesy of Department of Foreign Affairs (Flickr CC0)

Floods and landslides caused by summer tropical depression leave 67 dead and hundreds of missing and feared dead.

More than 200 villagers in Baybay, central Leyte province, in the central Visayas were injured. Rescuers and army police struggled with unstable heaps of earth, mud, and debris to find the missing villagers. Rescuers began to dig up dead bodies with bare hands and a backhoe. When heavy equipment reached Baybay village, rescue and search operations were in full force.

The central province of Leyte is the fierce hit by tropical storm Megi in the Southeast Asian archipelago this year. Storm Meji came just four months after super typhoon Rai devastated the country, killing more than 400 and leaving hundreds of thousands homeless.

Typhoon Megi lashed seas and forced dozens of ports to suspend their operations. As a result, hundreds of people start their Holy Week celebrations in evacuation centers and hospitals.

On Monday, the police, coast guard, firefighters, and police rescued villagers, including those trapped on their roofs. As a result, authorities suspended work and schools in central Cebu City. Mayor Michael Rama declared a state of emergency, which will allow the immediate release of emergency funds.

Officials said 47 of the dead recovered from the landslides and nine from floodwaters. Army commander Col. Noel Vestuir who helped oversee the rescue and search operations, said:

We are saddened by this dreadful incident that caused an unfortunate loss of lives and the destruction of properties.

Courtesy of tzejen (Flickr CC0)

Meanwhile, in the coastal village of Pilar, in Abuyog municipality, 150 people are missing, and thirteen people died as the earth and torrent of mud pushed houses into the sea and buried their settlement, according to Abuyog Mayor Lemuel Traya.

Traya said they are now focusing on retrieving bodies as they no longer expect survivors. Some 250 people rescued by boat were in evacuation centers, and many were in the hospital.

Aerial photos showed the Bunga village engulfed in mud and only a few rooftops poking through the non-transformed landscape.

The Philippines is a disaster-prone Southeast Asian nation lying on the Pacific Ring of Fire. Many of the world’s earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and earthquakes occurred, including the Super Typhoon Haiyan, in 2013. The country is also among the most vulnerable nations to the impacts of climate change.

Scientists warn of even more powerful disasters as the world gets warmer because of human-driven climate change. Each year, the Philippines is pounded by at least 20 storms and typhoons, mostly around June during the rainy season. However, some storms hit the country even during the scorching summer months in recent years.

Written by Janet Grace Ortigas
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware


NPR: Search efforts intensify as Philippine death toll from floods rises to nearly 60
Al-Jazeera: Death toll from Philippines landslides,
Phuket Times: Search efforts intensify as Philippine death toll from floods rises to nearly 60

Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Department of Foreign Affairs’ Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of tzejen’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License


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