Philippines Storm Megi: Agaton death toll rises as hundreds of thousands are displaced

Many deaths occurred in landslides and flooding caused when the storm made landfall on Sunday, hitting the eastern and southern coasts of the Philippines with sustained winds of up to 65 kilometers (40 miles) per hour and gusts of up to 80 km/h (49 mph).

The National Council for Disaster Risk Reduction and Management said at least 29 people are still missing and eight others are injured.

More than 920,000 people were affected by the storm, more than 200,000 people displaced, while more than 35,000 were preemptively evacuated, the council said. Some 660 evacuation centers are operational, he added.

Agricultural damage caused by Megi, known as Agaton in the Philippines, was estimated at more than $8 million (423.8 million Philippine pesos) on Wednesday, double the amount reported the previous day, the ministry said. of Agriculture.

At least 6,557 farmers and 10,920 hectares of farmland have been affected by commodities such as rice, corn and livestock affected by the tropical storm, the department added.

Among the most affected regions are Western Visayas, Eastern Visayas and Caraga.

In the eastern province of Leyte, the bodies of 22 people have been recovered after being buried under a landslide, Joemen Collado, Baybay town police chief, told reporters earlier this week. “There were landslides in the communities and then some of the victims were swept away by the floods,” Collado said.

The mayor of Abuyog in Leyte province said on Facebook that a landslide had “wiped out” Pilar, a local barangay or neighborhood, in a “disaster that broke my heart”.

The landslide occurred even as pre-emptive evacuation efforts were taking place, Lemuel Gin K. Traya said in his message.

“We had deployed all possible means to save the people of Barangay Pilar. We were able to rescue and save injured children, elderly people, injured and distressed people.

“To date, the survivors are on medication and well cared for. However, all evacuees are safe and in our care.”

Footage shared by the local fire department on Monday showed rescuers wading through water near partially submerged homes and digging for survivors in an area affected by a landslide.

Megi, which was downgraded to a tropical depression on Monday, was the first storm to hit the archipelago this year. The country experiences about 20 such storms a year.

The Philippines is still reeling from the effects of Super Typhoon Rai, the strongest typhoon to hit the country in 2021. Rai, known locally as Odette, left over 300 dead and injured over 500. , CNN affiliate CNN Philippines reported, citing the Philippine National Police.

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