At least 25 dead in landslides, floods after tropical storm Megi hits Philippines


Manilla. Philippine authorities said on Tueday at least 25 people had died in landslides and floods caused by tropical storm Megi as it hit the eastern and southern coasts of the country.

Tropical storm Megi is the first to lash the Philippines since a major typhoon last December.

The storm — known in the Philippines as Agaton — made landfall on Sunday with sustained winds of up to 65 kilometers per hour and gusts of up to 80 kph.

Mefi was the first storm of the year – the Philippines typically sees an average of 20 such storms annually.

One of the worst affected areas was the province of Leyte, where 22 bodies had been retrieved after being buried under a landslide, local authorities in Baybay city said on Monday.

“I was crying because I know the people buried there and I was also scared because there were mountains behind our house,” one Leyte resident told the AFP news agency.

The national disaster agency also confirmed that at least three people had died in the Davao region in the south.

On Tuesday, rescue crews were still battling to retrieve people stranded on the eastern and southern coasts.

It was the first such storm of the year – the Philippines typically sees an average of 20 each year.

More than 13,000 people fled to higher-ground shelters as the storm lashed the east coast. Heavy rain and winds knocked out power supply, flooded homes and fields and caused mudslides in villages.

Images shared by authorities and locals online showed rescuers wading through muddy swamps and using rafts on fast-flowing rivers to try and reach isolated areas of submerged homes.

In the town of Abuyog, in Leyte, the floods cut roads off and inundated homes and buildings.

Megi hits just four months after Super Typhoon Rai devastated many of the nation’s south-east islands in December – killing at least 375 people and affecting about 500,000 people.

Scientists say human-caused climate change has led to a greater intensity and power in tropical storms. The Philippines has experienced some of its most deadly storms since 2006.

The Phillipines has been ranked as one of the nations most vulnerable to climate disasters due to its geography.

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