Philippines death toll rises to 64 after Typhoon Mangkhut causes flooding and landslides
A further 40 miners, who were staying inside a bunkhouse that was buried under a landslide, are also feared dead
Typhoon Mangkhut killed at least 64 people in the Philippines as it smashed homes and left behind torrents of floodwater, and is now slamming into China’s coast. Another 40 people, mostly gold miners, were feared buried in a landslide a day after the storm ploughed through the northern part of the Philippines.
In Itogon, Benguet province, Mayor Victorio Palangdan said at least 32 people died while 29 are missing, mostly due to landslides caused by torrential rains. He added that the miners, who were staying inside a bunkhouse that was buried under a landslide, are feared dead.
Presidential adviser Francisco Tolentino earlier said that four people were reported dead in Nueva Vizcaya province.
Ricardo Jalad, executive director of the Philippine National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, said in a statement that two rescuers who were reported on Saturday to have died in a landslide in the central Philippine province of Cordillera were subsequently accounted for.
The massive storm, considered this year’s strongest, left key agricultural areas on Luzon island underwater as its fierce winds tore trees from the ground and rains unleashed dozens of landslides.
Jerome Balinton, a spokesman for Save the Children who was on the ground in northeastern Luzon, said: “The further north we travelled the more extensive the damage, particularly in Cagayan province. House after house had been flattened or badly damaged, with roofs or walls missing. Large trees have been uprooted from the ground and power poles bent right over, leaving power lines strewn across the ground.
“In some areas where the eye of the storm hit, it seems as if nothing has been left undamaged.”
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President Rodrigo Duterte flew to Cagayan on Sunday with top government officials.
“I share the grief of those who lost their loved ones. Those [are what] we call the unforeseen events. In insurance, this is an act of God. I don’t know how it can be an act of God, but that is the term used by the insurance,” Duterte said in a televised briefing.
Because communications and electricity were knocked out across much of the region where about 5 million people were in the typhoon’s direct path, officials are still assessing the human and material cost.
In the northern town of Baggao, the storm collapsed houses, tore off roofs and downed power lines. Some roads were cut off by landslides and many remained submerged.
Farms across Luzon, which produces a large portion of the nation’s rice and corn, were sitting under muddy floodwaters, their crops ruined just a month before harvest.
“We’re already poor and then this [storm] happened to us. We have lost hope,” 40-year-old Mary Anne Baril, whose corn and rice crops were spoiled in the storm, said.
“We have no other means to survive,” she said through tears.
More than 105,000 people fled their homes in the largely rural region.
An average of 20 typhoons and storms lash the Philippines each year, killing hundreds of people and leaving millions in near-perpetual poverty.
The dead included many killed in landslides, a girl who drowned and a security guard crushed by a falling wall. In addition to the 10 killed in the Philippines, a woman was swept out to sea in Taiwan.
The country’s deadliest storm on record is Super Typhoon Haiyan, which left more than 7,350 people dead or missing across the central Philippines in November 2013.
Mangkhut has weakened since blasting into the Philippine coast on Saturday, but was packing sustained winds of 175km/h as it hurtled toward China’s heavily populated southern coast.
Rain and strong winds lashed Hong Kong on Sunday morning as the storm approached.
Agence France-Presse, Associated Press, Kyodo, The Guardian