Death toll from Philippine landslides rise to nearly 300
Oct 11, 2009, 4:36 GMT
Manila, Philippines - The death toll from massive landslides and floods brought about by a typhoon in the northern Philippines climbed Sunday to nearly 300 as rescuers retrieved more bodies from the deluge.
Police and local officials said at least 293 people were confirmed killed in the aftermath of typhoon Parma, which slammed into the northern Philippines on October 3 and hit land twice more before moving out into the South China Sea.
In Benguet province alone, police said 151 people were killed in dozens of landslides that buried villages in such towns of La Trinidad, Mankayan and Tublay.
La Trinidad town Mayor Artemio Galwan said rescue teams were continuing search and retrieval operations in the village of Little Kibunga, which was almost wiped out by the landslides.
'The rescuers are still very busy, it's good that the sun has come out,' he said. 'Rescuers were able to reach many houses that were totally buried in the mud.'
Galwan said the town was in need of body bags and casket for the dead, aside from relief goods for thousands of people who had to leave their homes and stay in evacuation centres.
The death toll also included 83 people killed in landslides and floods in the mountain resort city of Baguio and the adjacent Mountain Province, police said.
Baguio City and dozens of other areas in the northern region of Luzon remained isolated for the past three days as landslides blocked main highways while some roads and bridges collapsed.
The National Disaster Coordinating Council said Parma's damage to infrastructure and agriculture has been estimated to cost more than 5 billion pesos (10.8 million dollars).
One week before Parma battered the Philippines, storm Ketsana dumped more than one month's worth of rain in Manila and outlying areas, causing the worst floods in over 40 years.
At least 337 people were killed in Ketsana's onslaught and more than 4 million were affected by the devastation. Nearly 300,000 people were still staying in evacuation centres, raising concerns over health and sanitation.