Philippines storm death toll rises to 98

Philippines storm death toll rises to 98


The death toll from a storm that has battered the Philippines has risen to 98, the national disaster agency said Monday, with little hope of finding survivors in the worst-hit areas.

Just over half of the deaths were due to a series of flash floods and landslides triggered by Tropical Storm Nalgae, which destroyed villages on the southern island of Mindanao on Friday.

Mindanao is rarely hit by the 20 or so typhoons that hit the Philippines each year, but storms that reach the region tend to be deadlier than in Luzon and the central parts of the country.

“We switched our operation from search and rescue operations to salvage operations because the chances of survival after two days are zero,” said Naguib Sinarimbo, civil defense chief of Bangsamoro Region in Mindanao.

The death toll is likely to rise, the national disaster agency lists 63 missing in its latest report.

As rescue teams scoured the mud and debris for more bodies, the survivors continued the heartbreaking task of cleaning up their soaked homes.

Residents swept muddy water from their homes and businesses as their furniture and other belongings dried on the now-sunny streets of the Noveleta community south of the capital Manila.

“In my entire life living here, this is the first time we’ve experienced this type of flooding,” said Joselito Ilano, 55, whose home was flooded by waist-deep water.

“I’m used to flooding here, but that’s just the worst, I was surprised.”

Nalgae flooded villages, destroyed crops, and knocked out power in many regions as it swept across the country.

It fell during a long All Saints’ Day weekend, the Tuesday when millions of Filipinos travel to visit the graves of their loved ones.

Scientists have warned that deadly and destructive storms will intensify as the world warms due to climate change.

The state weather forecaster warned that another tropical depression was heading towards the Philippines while Nalgae swept across the South China Sea.

The new weather system could bring more torrential rain and misery to Nalgae-affected areas.

Landslides and flash floods from largely deforested mountainsides have been among the deadliest hazards posed by storms in the Philippines in recent years.

In April, deadly landslides and floods triggered by another tropical storm destroyed farming and fishing villages in central Leyte province.

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