Philippines storm death toll rises to 123 as military aids search
The Philippine military pledged on Thursday to continue search and rescue efforts after Tropical Storm Megi tore through central areas this week, burying scores in landslides and killing at least 123 people. Megi was the first cyclone this year to hit the Philippines, an archipelago of more than 7,600 islands that experiences an average of 20 tropical storms a year.
Eighty-six of the victims were in Baybay, a landslide-prone mountainous region in Leyte province, where 236 people were also injured, the city government said in a report. Three other people drowned in different provinces, while six people are still missing, the national disaster agency said.
“Search, rescue and recovery operations will continue,” a Philippine Army infantry unit in Baybay posted on Facebook. Aerial photographs and local government videos showed collapsed slopes, burying coconut plantations and homes in dirt and mud. In one area, rescuers had to use dinghies to reach a landslide.
Megi, which made landfall on Sunday with sustained winds of up to 65 kilometers (40 miles) per hour and gusts of up to 80 km/h (49 mph), has since dissipated. Kantagnos district had been “heavily devastated”, an army engineering and construction battalion in Leyte said on Facebook. “Homes and livelihoods have been damaged, families and individuals are missing and communication is unstable,” the post said.
More than 162,000 displaced residents have taken refuge in evacuation centers, while another 41,000 are living with relatives, according to government data. Megi’s destructive path brought back memories of other killer storms in the Philippines.
In December, Category 5 Typhoon Rai ripped through the central Philippines, killing 405 people and injuring nearly 1,400. Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest tropical cyclones on record, killed 6,300 people in 2013.
(This story has not been edited by the Devdiscourse team and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)