Philippines landslides, floods death toll rises to 85

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ISTANBUL
Published 26.01.2019 15:56
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A tropical storm in Philippines killed at least 86 people and injured 43 people, the country's disaster management agency said on Wednesday.

The casualties, including young children, were mostly killed when their homes collapsed in landslides after days of heavy rain in several provinces in the central Philippines, said Ricardo Jalad, executive director of the national disaster agency.

"If we don't recover the missing or we recover them dead, that is 105 deaths, which we hope not," Jalad said.

The tropical depression, which weakened into a low pressure system before leaving the Philippines on Sunday, brought heavy rain that triggered landslides and flooding in the Bicol and eastern Visayas regions.

In a latest report, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said that over 308,000 people were affected by the storm, locally known as Usman, in the regions of Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Bicol and Eastern Visayas.

The council reported more than 22,000 people were evacuated in Eastern Visayas, with states of calamity declared in various parts of Mimaropa and Bicol.

Rainfall alerts were issued across the central islands of the country, particularly in the east, where the storm caused widespread flooding and landslides.

Transportation was affected by the storm and dozens of flights to and from the region were cancelled. Massive power outages were reported from the storm-hit areas.

The council reported an estimated $7 million in agricultural damages caused by the storm.

Rescuers, including the police and military, used heavy-lifting equipment to clear roads leading to landslide sites and entered flooded communities using rubber boats.

"The sun is already out, with occasional light rains. We hope floods will subside," Ronna Monzon, a member of the operations personnel at the disaster agency in Bicol, told Reuters.

About 20 tropical cyclones hit the Philippines every year, with destroyed crops and infrastructure taking a toll on human lives and weighing down one of the fastest growing economies in Asia.

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