Search ends in southern Philippine village for bodies of typhoon victims

Jeoffrey Maitem and Mark Navales
Cotabato, Philippines
Search ends in southern Philippine village for bodies of typhoon victims Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. greets Typhoon Nalgae victims in Datu Odin Sinsuat, a town in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Nov. 1, 2022.
Mark Navales/BenarNews

Search and retrieval teams have ended efforts to locate bodies in a southern Philippine village that was buried in a mudslide, the government said Thursday.

Floods and landslides unleashed by rains from Typhoon Nalgae (also known as Paeng) killed at least 150 people across the Philippines while 36 more remain missing.

In the southern Philippines, the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) was among the hardest hit regions, with at least 63 deaths linked to the flooding and landslides. A wall of mud buried the village of Kusiong in Datu Odin Sinsuat town. Images of the Oct. 28 typhoon showed rapidly rising water and mudflows obliterating the coastal community.

Maj. Gen. Roy Galido, commander of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, said teams had terminated a search for four people missing in Kusiong.

“Actually, we already terminated the retrieval [operation], we are now in rehabilitation [mode]. There are four still missing. Our K-9 dogs can no longer detect anything,” Galido said on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the national disaster agency (NDRRMC) reported 21 new fatalities in areas south of Manila including in Cavite district, which remained flooded nearly a week after Nalgae dumped heavy rain across a large swathe of the Philippines.

The NDRRMC said that more than 1.1 million families or an estimated 3.9 million people across 17 regions were affected by Nalgae. Of that number, 1.4 million people were still at evacuation centers or staying with relatives.

The agency also said that nearly 13,000 houses were “partially” damaged and about 2,200 others were destroyed. The cost of damage to homes was placed at 17.2 million pesos (U.S. $292,000) and combined damage to infrastructure and agriculture at 5.27 billion pesos ($89.6 million).

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An aerial view shows mud covering parts of a community in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Philippines, Nov. 1, 2022. [Mark Navales/BenarNews]

Marcos visits victims

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who visited the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region on Tuesday, placed it and three other regions under a state of calamity for six months – meaning recovery funds could be released more quickly.

“This Typhoon Paeng is different, because it has affected many, including Luzon and here in Mindanao,” he said on Tuesday after flying over the region, according to transcripts provided by the presidential palace.

Meeting with officials representing the autonomous region, Marcos promised that the national government would “continue to provide” for those still in evacuation centers.

“I told them let us help each other, BARMM and the LGUs. It is very important that we help the people in the wake of Paeng,” he said, referring to local government units.


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