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Death toll from Philippines landslides, floods hits 133

ABUYOG, PHILIPPINES (AFP) – The death toll from landslides and flooding in the Philippines triggered by tropical storm Megi rose to 133 yesterday, official figures showed, as more bodies were found in mud-caked villages.

Scores of people are still missing and feared dead after the strongest storm to strike the archipelago nation this year dumped heavy rain over several days, forcing tens of thousands into evacuation centres.

In the central province of Leyte – the worst affected by Megi – devastating landslides smashed farming and fishing communities, wiping out houses and transforming the landscape.

The disaster-prone region is regularly ravaged by storms – including a direct hit from Super Typhoon Haiyan in 2013 – with scientists warning they are becoming more powerful as the world gets warmer because of climate change.

Emergency personnel in Abuyog municipality have retrieved dozens of bodies from the coastal village of Pilar, which was destroyed by a landslide on Tuesday.

At least 42 people died in landslides that hit three villages in the municipality, police said.

Another person drowned. Most of those deaths were in Pilar, with at least 28 bodies brought by boat to a sandy lot near the municipal government building after roads leading to the settlement were cut off by landslides.

More than 100 remained missing, and Abuyog Mayor Lemuel Traya told AFP there was little hope of finding anyone else alive.

Residents mourn for relatives killed in the disaster. PHOTOS: AFP
Aerial view of destroyed houses on a collapsed mountainside

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