Death Toll of Tropical Storm Megi Rises in the Philippines

Tropical Storm Megi has wreaked havoc on the Philippines, with at least 53 people losing their lives from the resulting landslides and floods.

On Wednesday, rescuers were digging through dirt and wading through chest-high water searching for survivors in flooded communities.

Officials predict that the death toll from the natural disaster that hit on Sunday will continue to rise.

Villages close to Baybay city in the central Leyte province of the country have in particular been badly damaged.

Avalanches and rushing rivers obliterated homes and buried many of the victims alive. As reported by CNN, at least 47 people were killed in the region, according to the city’s mayor, Jose Carlos Cari.

A government source told news agency AFP that almost 80% of the homes in one community, Pilar, had been swept out to sea.

Deaths have also been recorded in the southern Davao area, Mindanao, and the central Negros Orientals province, according to the Philippines’ national disaster agency.

Officials estimate that the storm has impacted over 100,000 people in the Philippines’ southern and eastern islands.

Locally known as Agaton, the storm slammed the archipelago on Sunday with gusts of up to 65 km/h (40mph), and many people evacuated to shelters or higher ground.

The Philippines Coast Guard has released photos of rescuers carrying the injured on stretchers, contending with chest-high water and having to ferry survivors along flooded streets on rafts.

Constant rain has hindered the rescue attempt, however conditions had improved by Tuesday.

It was the first of the year’s storms to hit the Philippines. The country has on average 20 of them to battle every year.

It comes almost four months since Super Typhoon Rai wreaked havoc on several of the country’s south-east islands in December, as at least 375 people lost their lives and 500,000 more being affected.

Rai was the biggest storm to hit the Philippines in 2021, with a number of experts saying that it had intensified faster than expected.

According to AFP, a national disaster agency spokesperson stated on Tuesday that the landslide surrounding Baybay city has spread to regions “outside the danger zone.”

“It’s meant to be the dry season,” Marissa Miguel Cano, a public information officer in Baybay, commented to the news agency. “But maybe climate change has changed all of that.”

Tropical storms have become more intense and powerful as a result of human-caused climate change, according to scientists. Since 2006, the Philippines has been hit by some of the world’s worst hurricanes.

Because of its location, it has been named one of the countries most vulnerable to climatic calamities.