Manila: At least 68 people have died in a tropical storm that brought heavy rains and triggered deadly landslides over the weekend in the Philippines, officials said on Monday.
Storm Usman hit the Bicol region in Manila on Saturday. So far, 57 deaths have been reported from the Bicol region and 11 from the Eastern Visayas region, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.
The agency said there were 19 people missing in both regions and the death toll was likely to increase as retrieval operations continue. The tropical depression destroyed infrastructure and displaced more than 40,000 people nationwide, the BBC reported.
People didn’t take precautions because they were on vacation mode and there was no tropical cyclone warning, said Bicol Civil Defence Director Claudio Yucot. Of the total affected, only 14,444 people were housed in shelters in central and northern parts of the country.
Rescuers from the military, the police and other government agencies were conducting search, rescue and retrieval operations in northern and central Philippines.
Aside from strong winds and heavy rains, areas ravaged by the tropical depression experienced power outages. Several houses were buried in landslides and roads sections were impassable due to severe flood.
The local authorities declared a state of calamity in Camarines Sur province located in the Bicol Region in Luzon. The province is home to nearly 2 million people. From Monday, Usman started moving away from the Philippines to the South China Sea, having weakened to a low-pressure area.
The Philippines is affected by 15 to 20 typhoons every year during the rainy season, which usually begins in May or June and concludes in November or December.