MANILA, Philippines (HPD) — Flash floods and mudslides triggered by torrential rains have left at least 47 dead in the Philippines, with up to 60 residents feared buried under an avalanche of water, mud, rocks and trees in one of its southern provinces. officials said Saturday.
At least 42 people were swept away by floods and drowned or hit by mudslides in three towns in Maguindanao province from Thursday night to early Friday, said Naguib Sinarimbo, interior minister for a Muslim-ruled autonomous region. by former separatist guerrillas.
Five other people died elsewhere as a result of the onslaught of tropical storm Nalgae, which hit the eastern province of Camarines Sur early Saturday, the government disaster agency said.
But so far the worst impact of the storm was a mudslide laden with rainwater, stones and trees that buried dozens of houses in the tribal village of Kuisong, in the Datu Odin Sinsuat town of Maguindanao, where up to 60 people are believed to have been. Sinarimbo told The Associated Press by telephone, citing accounts from Kuisong villagers who survived the flood and mudslide.
Eleven bodies, most of them children, were removed by rescuers with shovels in Kusiong on Friday, it said.
“That community will be our ground zero today,” Sinarimbo said, adding that heavy machinery and more rescuers, including elements from the army and police, as well as volunteers, have been deployed to bolster search and rescue efforts.
The coastal town, which lies at the foot of a mountain, is accessible by land, allowing more rescuers to be dispatched on Saturday to deal with one of the worst weather disasters to hit the south of the country in decades, he said.