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Search for survivors of Philippine villages affected by landslides

  • Rescuers hampered by mud and rain on Tuesday searched for survivors of landslides that smashed into villages in the central Philippines.
  • More than 17,000 people fled their homes as the storm hit the region, flooded houses, cut off roads and cut off power.
  • At least 21 people died after landslides hit several villages in Leyte province, local authorities said.

Rescuers hampered by mud and rain on Tuesday searched for survivors of landslides that erupted in villages in the central Philippines as the death toll from tropical storm Megi rose to 27.

More than 17,000 people fled their homes as the storm hit the disaster-stricken region in recent days, flooding houses, cutting off roads and shutting down the power.

At least 21 people died after landslides hit several villages in Leyte province – one of the hardest hit by the storm – local authorities said.

Three people were also killed in the central province of Negros Oriental and three on the largest southern island of Mindanao, according to the National Disaster Agency.

Pictures showed the roofs of several houses in Bunga, one of the affected Leyte communities jutting out over a river of mud.

Rescue efforts were focused on the nearby village of Kantagnos, which an official said had been hit by two landslides.

Some residents managed to escape or were pulled out of the mud alive, but many are still feared trapped.

Five people have been confirmed dead in Cantantos, but it is not clear how many are still missing.

This undated distribution photo received from the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on April 11, 2022 shows the Coast Guard and police personnel evacuating a resident from a flooded area in Abuyog city, Leyte province, southern Philippines, after heavy rain caused by tropical storm Agaton .

A video from the Philippine Coast Guard shared on Facebook showed six rescuers carrying a mud-cake woman on a stretcher to safety.

“There was a small landslide and some people were able to run to safety, and then followed a large one that covered the entire village,” Jose Carlos Cari, mayor of Leytes Baybay City, told local television station DZMM Teleradyo .

“We’re looking for a lot of people, there are 210 households there.”

Cari said the bad weather hampered rescue efforts.

“We’re pushing, but we’re having a hard time because it’s dangerous,” he said.

“The equipment has been mobilized, everything is ready, but we can not move because it is still raining heavily and rivers are still rising.”

The military has joined the Coast Guard, police and fire protection officers in the search and rescue effort.

National Disaster Agency spokesman Mark Timbal said landslides around Baybay City had reached settlements “outside the danger zone”, which surprised many people.

“There were people in their homes who were hit directly by the landslide,” Timbal told AFP.

Tropical Storm Megi – known in the Philippines under its local name Agaton – is the first major storm to hit the country this year.

It whipped up the oceans, forced dozens of ports to cease operations and stranded nearly 8,000 people at the start of Holy Week, one of the busiest travel periods of the year.

The Philippines reopened to fully vaccinated tourists from most countries in February after lifting virtually all Covid-19 restrictions, and Easter is a popular holiday for domestic tourists.

The storm comes four months after a super typhoon destroyed parts of the archipelago, killing more than 400 people and leaving hundreds of thousands homeless.

Scientists have long warned that typhoons intensify faster as the world warms due to climate change.

The Philippines – ranked among the most vulnerable nations to its impacts – is hit by an average of 20 storms each year.


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Search for survivors of Philippine villages affected by landslides

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