Storm Nalgae kills at least 45 in the Philippines and heads for the capital
Widespread flooding and rain-triggered landslides are expected in the capital of 13 million people.
Tropical Storm Nalgae, which swept through the Philippines, now threatens the capital, Manila, after at least 45 people died following floods and landslides in the archipelago, according to a new downwardly revised toll.
< p class="e-p">Nalgae hit the main Philippine island of Luzon on Saturday at dawn. Winds were reaching 95 km/h an hour after the storm made landfall on the sparsely populated island of Catanduanes.
The heavy rains began Thursday evening in the archipelago and triggered violent floods. The waters then invaded several towns and villages on the southern island of Mindanao, carrying trees, stones and mud in their path. Some 500 houses were destroyed.
A new death toll puts the death toll at 40 in Mindanao and 5 elsewhere in the country.
There are at least 17 missing, and 20,000 people have had to be evacuated from their homes.
On the island of Mindanao, rescuers are now focusing their efforts on Kusiong, a village of around 100 people, where 14 bodies have already been pulled from the rubble, but a large number of people remain missing.
Rescuers recover a body following flooding and a landslide in the village of Kusiong in the southern Philippines.
Construction machinery was at work on Saturday clearing away the rock and mud flow that had descended from a nearby mountain the day before.
It would have been less painful if she had died of illness, lamented a villager, Mercedes Mocadef, near three bodies, one of which she had identified as that of her cousin's daughter.
The girl’s mother has been reported missing.
It could be more than a hundred dead that the storm left behind in this village, rated Lester Sinsuat, the mayor of nearby Datu Odin Sinsuat.
The head of the regional civil protection branch, Naguib Sinarimbo, believes that this is already a body recovery operation, because the village has been buried under mud and stones for a long time.
Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. lashed out at civil defense and local officials during a x27;a televised meeting on Saturday.
It will be important for us to look back and see why this happened. Why didn't we manage to evacuate them? Why is the number of victims so high? asked the president.
In Leyte, an island in the central Philippines, rescuers even used a refrigerator as a boat to save children stranded by the waves, as evidenced by photos published by the Coast Guard.
Philippine Coast Guard lifeguards and locals use a broken fridge as a makeshift boat.
But Nalgae could also affect Manila, the capital of the country, announced the Philippine meteorological service.
Wide flooding and rain-triggered landslides are expected in the capital of 13 million people, the bulletin said.
Based on our projections, this storm is very strong and we have prepared for it, said civil protection chief Rafaelito Alejandro, saying 5,000 rescue teams were on standby.
Residents living in or near the storm's path are asked to stay home.
The storm hit at the start of a long Philippine holiday weekend, when millions return to their hometowns to pay their respects at the graves of loved ones.
However, the Coast Guard has suspended ferry services in much of the archipelago, where tens of thousands of people board boats every day. And 100 flights have been put on hold, the civil aviation bureau said.
On average, 20 typhoons and storms hit the Philippines each year, killing people and livestock in their path, and ravaging farms, homes, roads and bridges, even though the south of the country is rarely touched.
With the increase in global warming affecting the planet, storms and typhoons are becoming more and more powerful, scientists point out.
Typhoon Noru killed at least 10 people in the Philippines in late September, 5 of whom were rescue workers. Tropical Storm Megi, which hit the country in April, claimed at least 148 lives and caused massive landslides.