In the Philippines, the Megi storm kills at least 42

Coast Guard personnel evacuate residents from their flooded homes in the town of Panitan, Capiz province, April 12, 2022.

Tropical Storm Megi, which hit the Philippines causing massive landslides, has already killed 42 people, according to the latest official reports, and the search for the missing was halted on Tuesday evening, April 12.

Hampered by the mud and rain, rescuers searched all day, sometimes with bare hands, for survivors in several mountain villages covered in mud.

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Rescue operations were halted early in the evening near Baybay, the hardest hit area in central Leyte province. ” too dangerous “ to chase them in the dark and in the rain, said Marissa Miguel Cano, a spokesman for the municipality. Thirty-six people died in several villages around Baybay, twenty-six are missing and a hundred were injured, local authorities said.

After a landslide caused by Tropical Storm Megi, in Baybay on April 11, 2022.

Three people were also killed in Negros Oriental province, and three others in the southern island of Mindanao, the National Disaster Management Agency said. More than 17,000 people have fled their homes.

Fourteen bodies were found in the village of Mailhi, near Baybay, army captain Kaharudin Cadil told Agence France-Presse (AFP):

It was a mudslide that buried houses. We found most of the bodies buried in the mud

Two landslides

From Bunga, another nearby village, only a few roofs emerge from the reddish mud that fell from a coconut-covered hillside. At least seven of the residents have died and 20 are missing.

In Kantagnos, also near Baybay, two landslides have killed at least four people and left an unknown number missing. Baybay Mayor Jose Carlos Cari spoke to local radio:

There was a small landslide – some managed to take cover – followed by a bigger one that engulfed the entire village. We are looking for a lot of people, there are 210 homes here.

Rescue workers evacuate a resident of Kantagnos village, near Baybay, on April 11, 2022.

Apple Sheena Bayno, who had to flee after her home in Baybay was flooded, said her family was still recovering from a typhoon in December. “We are supposedly in the middle of the dry season, but climate change must have disrupted all that”said Marissa Miguel Cano. According to Baybay’s municipal spokeswoman, landslides do occasionally occur in this agricultural area, but the magnitude of them was surprising on Monday.

Residents surprised

Landslides near Baybay have occurred “outside the danger zones”and many residents were taken by surprise when they found themselves in their homes, National Disaster Management Agency spokesman Mark Timbal told AFP.

Megi, known in the Philippines by its local name Agaton, is the first major tropical storm to hit the country this year, which is regularly hit by natural disasters. It caused strong waves at sea, forced dozens of ports to suspend operations and stranded nearly 8,000 people for the Easter holidays, one of the most important travel times of the year.

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Le Monde and AFP

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