At least 43 bodies found in Philippines landslide

Published : 17 Sep 2018, 17:49

Sahos Desk

Emergency workers in the Philippines recovered 43 bodies from the muddied wreckage of a gold miners’ bunkhouse after Typhoon Mangkhut set off a landslide, burying the remote northern town of Itogon in a river of debris and potentially doubling the country’s death toll, officials said on Monday.

Mangkhut, a super typhoon that slammed into the northern Philippine province of Luzon on Saturday, continued a path of destruction across southern China on Sunday and into Monday.

Officials feared the death toll could surpass 100 in the Philippines, and at least four people were killed in China as of Monday, according to the state news media.

The whir of choppers and the buzz of chain saws were all that was heard on Monday near the mining town of Itogon as workers looking for bodies dug through the mud using shovels and their bare hands — the ground too wet for heavy machinery.

Francis Tolentino, a senior adviser to President Rodrigo Duterte, estimated that nationwide 5.7 million people had been affected by the storm, which hit the country at the height of its powers, with wind speeds topping 150 miles per hour.

Duterte inspected part of the disaster area on Sunday, and met with top officials in Tuguegarao City for a televised briefing on the damage and the recovery effort.

“I share the grief of those who lost their loved ones,” the president said.

A slightly weakened Mangkhut battered the coast of southern China on Sunday, blowing out the windows of high rises in Hong Kong and causing floods and power outages in Macau.

Nearly 2.5 million people were ordered to evacuate China’s southern province of Guangdong, as Mangkhut churned its way toward the mainland. Four people were killed in the province, one of the country’s most populous, according to the state news media.

The storm crossed the southern coast with winds as high as 100 miles an hour. As night fell, the streets of the cities along China’s southern coast largely emptied as residents heeded warnings to stay indoors, having already stocked up on food and water at stores on Saturday and earlier Sunday. Guangzhou ordered all restaurants closed to keep people off the streets, and high-speed rail service was suspended in the province.

The air travel disruptions that rippled across Asia from the storm continued into Monday. Some flights arrived at and departed Hong Kong’s airport Monday morning, but many others were cancelled or delayed.

Rose Marie Nuevo, 32, a domestic worker from the Philippines, said her 11:30 am flight Monday to Manila was cancelled and rescheduled for Tuesday. She plans to spend the day waiting in the airport rather than returning to her residence in Hong Kong.

“If I’m tired I can sit and if I’m hungry I can go to McDonald’s,” she said. “It’s safe here. If I go home I don’t know if there’s flying debris or what.”

But for many Hong Kong residents, the city’s transportation networks were not ready for their return to work. Roads throughout the city were still blocked by glass and fallen trees, and major bus companies cut most of their routes.

Commuters turned to the subway system, where huge crowds of commuters waited for trains. Compounding the problem was that some light rail service was disrupted by an overhead electric line that was damaged by falling trees, officials said.

Source: The New York Times

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