MANILA, PHILIPPINES (AP) — At least 50 people have died in flash floods and landslides caused by torrential rains. Among them is a province in the southern part of the Philippines that has been severely damaged, where it is feared that as many as 60 villagers are missing and buried in mass landslides. Rocks, trees and debris, officials said Saturday.
At least 42 people drowned or were hit by debris-filled landslides in three towns in Maguindanao province between Thursday night and early Friday morning, said Naguib Sinarimbo. Former separatist guerrilla.
The onslaught of tropical storm Narge that hit eastern Camarines Sur province early Saturday morning left eight people dead elsewhere in the country, according to the government’s disaster response agency.
But the effects of the worst storm so far were landslides that buried dozens of houses that housed as many as 60 people in the Kushion village in the town of Datu Odin Singsuat in Maguindanao, Sinarimbo said. told the Associated Press. Flash floods and landslides.
Army lieutenant colonel Denis Almorat, who visited the landslide-hit area on Saturday, said the muddy deluge had buried about 60 rural homes on a plot of about 5 hectares (12 acres) in the area. said he did. He did not give an estimate of how many villagers may have been buried in the landslide.
At least 13 bodies, mostly children, were exhumed by Kushion rescuers on Friday and Saturday, Sinalimbo said.
“That community will be our ground zero today,” he said, adding that heavy equipment and more rescue workers have been deployed to ramp up search and rescue efforts.
“We were hit by torrents of rainwater, washing away mud, rocks and trees from the house,” said Sinalimbo.
The coastal village at the foot of the mountain is accessible by road, allowing more rescue teams to be deployed on Saturday to deal with one of the worst weather-related disasters to hit the South in decades. increase.
Citing reports from mayors, governors and disaster responders, Sinarimbo said 27 people in Datu Odin Singsuat town, 10 people in Datu Bura Singsuat town and 5 people in Upi town, all believed to be responsible for the drowning of Maguindanao. He said most of the deaths were caused by landslides.
The official death toll in Maguindanao was 67 on Friday night, which was recalled by authorities after a double tally of casualties was discovered.
Unusually heavy rains have flooded several towns of Maguindanao and the surrounding provinces, turning mountainous areas with wetlands into puddles of downpours. Floods rose rapidly in many low-lying villages, forcing some residents to climb onto roofs and being rescued by the military, police and volunteers, Sinalimbo said.
The Coast Guard has released photos of rescuers walking through chest-high brownish floodwaters to rescue the elderly and children of Maguindanao. Much of the wetlands had not been flooded for years, including the city of Cotabato, where Sinalimbo said his house was flooded.
Stormy weather has hit large parts of the country, prompting the Coast Guard to ban sea travel in dangerously rough waters. This was because millions of Filipinos planned to visit relatives’ graves or travel for a long weekend for family reunions on All Saints Day in the Philippines. predominantly Roman Catholic country. Several domestic flights have also been canceled, leaving thousands of passengers stranded.
Naluge’s wide rainband, the 16th storm to hit the Philippine archipelago this year, was able to bring rain to the southern part of the country even though the storm was blowing further north, said government forecaster Sam. Durand said.
The storm hit Laguna province Saturday night with sustained winds of 95 kilometers per hour (59 miles per hour) and gusts of up to 160 kilometers per hour (99 miles per hour), moving northwest just south of the densely populated capital Manila. did. Direct hits until the storm changes.
More than 158,000 people in several states have fled the storm’s path, officials said.
About 20 typhoons and storms hit the Philippine Islands each year. It is located in the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, an area along much of the Pacific Rim where many volcanic eruptions and earthquakes occur, making the country one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world. to
Associated Press journalists Joeal Calupitan and Aaron Favila contributed to this report.