Philippines landslide death toll reaches 148; Hundreds of people are still missing from Agaton

KEY POINTS

  • Tropical Storm Megi, also known as Agaton, has killed at least 148 people in the Philippines
  • Dozens were injured, while hundreds more were missing and feared dead
  • Agricultural damage from the storm was already around $2.6 million

In the Philippines, nearly 150 people have died and hundreds more are missing and feared dead following a tropical storm that slammed into the country last weekend, according to reports.

Landslides and flooding caused by Tropical Storm Megi, locally known as Agaton, claimed 148 lives on Thursday, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported, citing official figures.

A total of 101 people were killed and dozens more were injured last weekend in vegetable, rice and coconut farming villages around Baybay, a town in the eastern province of Leyte . 103 other people are still missing.

Forty-two other people died in landslides that hit three villages in Abuyog township in Leyte, police said, while another person drowned. More than 100 people in the area were still missing.

Three people also drowned on the main southern island of the Philippines, Mindanao, and another died in the central province of Iloilo, said the country’s national disaster management agency, the National Council for Reduction and Management Disaster Risk Management (NDRRMC).

Most of the dead in Abuyog came from the coastal village of Pilar, with at least 28 bodies transported by boat to sandy ground near the municipal government building after roads leading to the settlement were cut off by landslides.

Many of those who died in the area had walked to higher ground to avoid flash floods, villagers said.

There was little hope of finding anyone else alive, said Abuyog Mayor Lemuel Traya.

Bad weather and thick mud complicated recovery efforts in Pilar, where the ground was unstable.

“It’s not going to end anytime soon. It could go on for days,” Traya warned.

Megi first made landfall in Eastern Samar province on Sunday morning before making landfall for the second time in neighboring Samar province on Monday afternoon as a tropical depression.

The storm hit at the start of Holy Week, one of the Philippines’ most important holidays, which sees thousands of people travel to visit relatives.

It came four months after Typhoon Rai, known locally as Super Typhoon Odette, left 400 people dead and thousands homeless.

Megi’s agricultural damage amounted to at least 136 million Philippine pesos ($2.6 million), the NDRRMC reported on Thursday, according to the Manila Times.

The Western Visayas and Eastern Visayas regions as well as parts of Mindanao suffered damage of approximately 134,991,740 Philippine pesos ($2,576,915). Meanwhile, damage to infrastructure in central Visayas and northern Mindanao amounted to 1.5 million Philippine pesos ($27,700), according to the NDRRMC.

A general view shows damage after a landslide caused by Tropical Storm Megi, which hit the eastern and southern coasts of the Philippines, in the town of Baybay, eastern province of Leyte, Philippines, in this still image taken from a Video April 11, 2022. Courtesy As You Wish Photography/via REUTERS. Photo: Reuters/PHOTOGRAPHY AS YOU WISH

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