After typhoon Megi produced landslides in coastal provinces that killed 56 people and left others missing, Philippine officials struggled on Wednesday to transfer aid to tens of thousands of displaced people living in evacuation centres.
Megi, the first tropical storm to reach the Philippines this year, caused more than 42,000 people to be displaced and 200 to be injured when it made landfall over the weekend. The storm has passed, according to the state weather agency.
According to statistics from police and disaster organisations, search and rescue efforts were concentrated in Baybay city, a mountainous location prone to landslides in the eastern Philippines, which has witnessed the majority of casualties thus far. During rescue operations, images on social media revealed bodies being recovered from under heavy muck, including those of youngsters.
Survivors were still being rescued from flooded locations on Wednesday, according to coastguard spokesperson Commodore Armand Balilo.
“Water systems here have been clogged, therefore drinking water is our concern,” Norberto Oja, a Baybay health official, told DZRH radio station. In order to increase its healthcare capabilities, the city has also requested assistance from adjacent communities, he noted.
“There’s aid like food and medications,” Baybay Mayor Jose Carlos Cari told DZMM radio station, “but the difficulty is management in evacuation centres.”
Before giving 7,500 food packets, the ABS-CBN Foundation stated it will wait for the rains to subside.
Port operations had resumed in numerous provinces, while isolated rain showers were forecast throughout the Philippine Sea and Pacific Ocean’s eastern coasts.
The national disaster agency’s spokesperson, Mark Timbal, told DZRH radio station that rescuers needed to be cautious because it was still raining in some locations and the potential of landslides remained high.
“The landslides spread far beyond the threat area, up into the community’s comparatively safer areas,” he said.
Every year, the Philippines is hit by an average of 20 tropical storms. Rai, a category 5 typhoon that hit the central provinces in December, killed 405 people and wounded over 1,400 more.