'Scores dead' in Philippines landslides

As many as 96 people have been killed or are feared dead after landslides, spawned by heavy rains, hit the central Philippines island of Leyte.

    Heavy rain caused the landslides in Southern Leyte province

    The governor of Southern Leyte province, Rosete Lerias, said on Saturday 13 people had been confirmed dead so far and another 83 were missing and feared dead after landslides hit several towns late on Friday.

    Lerias said more than 250 people had been rescued from the avalanche.

    Military and relief officials were in the affected areas to search for the missing, civil defence officials said.

    Officials said on Saturday most of the people were asleep when the

    landslides hit the San Francisco and Liloan towns in the

    Southern Leyte province.

    Remote areas

    Lerias said in a radio interview rescue and relief work was hampered by the isolation of some of the affected areas.

    Most of the affected people were living near the mountains and

    the casualty count was expected to rise, he said.

    "We experienced unusually heavy rains during the last six
    days. The rains triggered the landslides," she said. 

    Rescue work was also hampered by minor landslides that blocked the only roads leading to the disaster area.

    San Francisco and Liloan are on a small island off the main Leyte island.

    Officials said there was no power in the affected areas. 

    Leyte province was the scene of a famous sea battle
    between US and Japanese forces during the second world war.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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