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26 dead in landslides after Philippines storm

  • Published at 08:56 pm December 17th, 2017
26 dead in landslides after Philippines storm

Landslides triggered by Tropical Storm Kai-Tak have killed 26 people and 23 more are missing in the eastern Philippines, authorities said on Sunday.

The deaths were reported in the small island province of Biliran, a day after the storm pounded the east of the archipelago nation.

Kai-Tak tore across the major islands of Samar and Leyte on Saturday, toppling power lines in 39 towns or cities and damaging roads and bridges, the national disaster agency said.

Some 87,700 people were forced from their homes in the region. But the previous death toll had stood at just three.

Sofronio Dacillo, provincial disaster risk reduction and management officer, told AFP the deaths occurred in four towns in Biliran at the weekend.

"Rocks as big as cars fell on concrete houses after three days of continuous, heavy rain," chief inspector Lilibeth Morillo, Biliran police information officer, told AFP as she described a landslide in the mountainous district of Lucsoon.

"There were six families living there but they did not evacuate," she said, adding seven bodies were recovered in the area.

Gerardo Espina, governor of the island province just east of Leyte, gave the same overall death toll of 26 in an interview on ABS-CBN television. He said 23 people were missing.

The national disaster risk reduction agency could not immediately confirm if the 26 deaths included the initial three fatalities it announced on Saturday.

Kai-Tak weakened on Sunday afternoon, with gusts of up to 80km an hour, and was downgraded to a tropical depression, state weather forecasters said.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday said he would soon fly to the storm-hit areas.

"There is so much destruction there. There are places where the bridge was destroyed and I would like to see for myself what government can do better," Duterte said in a speech.