Official estimates reveal that the death toll from landslides and flooding in the Philippines caused by tropical storm Megi reached 117 on Thursday, as fresh bodies were discovered in mud-caked villages.
After the largest storm to hit the archipelago nation this year pounded heavy rain over many days, driving tens of thousands into evacuation camps, scores of people are still missing and presumed dead.
Devastating landslides wreaked havoc on farming and fishing towns in the central province of Leyte, destroying homes and altering the landscape.
Storms often wreak havoc on the disaster-prone region, including a direct hit from Super Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, and scientists warn that as the world warms due to human-caused climate change, storms will get more violent.
Hundreds of dead have been recovered by emergency personnel from a coastal town crushed by a landslide on Tuesday in Abuyog municipality.
Authorities say at least 26 people have been killed and approximately 150 have gone missing, with little prospect of finding anyone else alive.
According to residents, many of those who killed had gone up the mountain to avoid flash floods.
The landslide’s roar was described by Pilar councillor Anacleta Canuto, 44, as “sounding like a helicopter.”
Canuto, her husband, and their two children all made it out alive, but at least nine relatives perished.
As the avalanche approached, Pilar fisherman Santiago Dahonog, 38, said he rushed into the sea with two siblings and a nephew.
He explained, “We got out of the house, ran to the water, and started swimming.” “I was the only one who made it.”
Local authorities reported that 86 people were killed and many were injured in vegetable, rice, and coconut-growing areas around Baybay City over the weekend. At least 117 people remain unaccounted for.
Kantagnos was the heaviest impacted, with 32 persons killed and 103 still missing.
When a flood of sodden mud surged down a slope and struck onto the riverside settlement of Bunga, 17 people were killed. In the dirt, just a few rooftops can be seen.
According to the latest information from the national disaster office, three individuals drowned on Mindanao’s largest southern island.
Three further deaths in the center province of Negros Oriental were removed from the count after it was discovered that they were unrelated to the storm.
Megi arrived four months after a monster typhoon ravaged large swaths of the country, killing over 400 people and displacing hundreds of thousands.
Every year, the Philippines, which is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change, is pounded by an average of 20 storms.