Tropical Storm Unleashes Deadly Floods, Landslides in Philippines

Jojo Riñoza and Jeoffrey Maitem
Manila
2021-10-12
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Tropical Storm Unleashes Deadly Floods, Landslides in Philippines Rescuers carry a body bag from the site of a deadly landslide caused by heavy rain in the northern Philippine province of Benguet, Oct 12, 2021.
Stringer/BenarNews

At least nine people were killed in a storm that dumped heavy rain and caused massive flooding and landslides in the Philippines after it made landfall in northern Cagayan province overnight, officials said Tuesday.

Severe Tropical Storm Kompasu, known as Maring among locals, made landfall on Fuga, an island in Cagayan, on Monday night. It packed winds of 100 kph (62.1 mph) near the center, with wind gusts of up to 125 kph (77.6 mph), the Philippine weather bureau said.

“The storm left nine dead,” Ricardo Jalad, executive director of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) in Manila, said in a report. At least 11 other people were reported missing in the storm’s wake.

In Benguet, another province on the main Philippine island of Luzon, four people were buried in landslides, including three in a landslide in Central Ambiong, civil defense officials said. Another person drowned in Claveria, a municipality in Cagayan, and four others were swept away in a flash flood in Narra, a town in western Palawan province, the office said.

Three children were among fatalities in the landslides reported in Benguet, provincial Gov. Melchor Diclas said.

“The three minors were eating when they were covered by landslides. Authorities are still looking into the details of the incident,” Diclas told reporters.

The storm toppled trees, knocked out power lines, and forced people out of their homes as it passed through provinces near Manila. It also caused landslides and flooding in low-lying areas.

More than 19,000 people were displaced in four regions, while more than 3,000 were sheltering in evacuation centers, the OCD said.

By Tuesday afternoon, the storm had left the Philippines and was moving westward, the state weather bureau reported.

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Rescuers look for survivors after a landslide caused by non-stop rain buried homes in the northern Philippine province of Benguet, Oct. 12, 2021. [Stringer/BenarNews]

In the northern and western Philippines, pictures and videos shared on social media sites showed homes covered in brown water and panicked residents rushing to evacuate.

In Manila, Vice President Leni Robredo said her office had deployed teams to help relief and rescue operations in storm-hit provinces of Luzon.

“We have formed two teams already to assist those needing help in Cagayan/Isabela and in Benguet/La Union. Ready to deploy our teams already to provide relief assistance, but we need help from those who have equipment for rescue ops,” Robredo said. 

“We’re forwarding all the calls for help to the teams on the ground.”

While the storm had already left the region, heavy rainfall over Luzon Island, which is home to Metropolitan Manila, continued on Tuesday.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the number of national road sections shut down by flooding and landslides had reached 24, the government said.

Crews, assisted by the military, were still clearing fallen trees and mud from the roads, while swollen waterways had inundated some bridges, the public works department said.

“We ask the public to continue to take precautionary measures, observe minimum public health standards, and cooperate with their respective local authorities in case of an evacuation,” presidential spokesman Harry Roque said in a statement. 

About 20 tropical storms and typhoons pummel the Philippines each year, some of which can be devastating.

In November 2013, at least 7,000 people died, and scores were reported missing after Super Typhoon Haiyan battered the central Philippines and caused massive storm surges.

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