Philippines typhoon Mangkhut toll hits 81, expected to rise 

Mangkhut swamped farm fields in the nation's agricultural north and smashed houses when it tore through at the weekend with violent winds and heavy rains.

Published: 19th September 2018 11:50 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th September 2018 11:50 AM   |  A+A-

A Filipino trooper keeps guard as search operations continue at the site where victims are believed to have been buried by a landslide triggered by Typhoon Mangkhut lashed across Itogon, Benguet province, northern Philippines, Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018. (Photo | AP)

By PTI

MANILA: The death toll in the Philippines from Typhoon Mangkhut has climbed to 81 and could hit triple digits as searchers dig through a landslide where dozens are presumed dead, authorities said Wednesday.

Mangkhut swamped farm fields in the nation's agricultural north and smashed houses when it tore through at the weekend with violent winds and heavy rains.

Dozens of people believed buried in the landslide probably did not survive, the mayor of Itogon said Monday, although rescuers kept digging through mud and debris covering a chapel where they had taken shelter. (Photo | AP)

Since then the toll has climbed mostly due to the corpses recovered from the massive landslide in the mining town of Itogon where dozens are still believed buried under the mud.

"From the list I saw 59 people are still missing (at Itogon)," Ricardo Jalad, civil defence chief, told AFP.

"If you add that to those already recovered it's possible the toll could top 100.

" The typhoon, the most powerful to strike this year, also battered Hong Kong and killed four in China's southern province of Guangdong.

Rescuers continue search operations at the site where victims are believed to be buried in a landslide set off by Typhoon Mangkhut as it lashed across Itogon, Benguet province.
 (Photo | AP)

Searchers at Itogon continued their grim work on Wednesday, digging with shovels and their bare hands in the vast expanse of mud that crushed dwellings used by small-scale miners.

The area was primed for disaster before Mangkhut hit, as it came on the heels of nearly a month of continuous monsoon rains that saturated the soil of the already hazardous area.

Of the hundreds digging through the debris, many were miners themselves who were looking for friends and relatives, determined to make sure they received a proper burial.

The Philippines's deadliest storm on record is Super Typhoon Haiyan, which left more than 7,350 people dead or missing across the central Philippines in November 2013.

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