Philippines death toll jumps to 75 after floods and landslides

Rescue teams search for at least 16 people still missing in Bicol and Eastern Visayas regions after tropical depression.

    Nearly 25,000 people were displaced by the landslides and floods in 13 provinces [Francis Tanala/DPWH/AFP]
    Nearly 25,000 people were displaced by the landslides and floods in 13 provinces [Francis Tanala/DPWH/AFP]

    At least 75 people have been killed in landslides and floods caused by a tropical depression in the eastern Philippines as rescue teams continued to search for other victims, according to officials.

    The national disaster risk reduction office said on Tuesday that at least 16 people were still reported missing in two eastern regions most affected by the tropical depression that made landfall on December 29.

    At least 59 people were killed in the region of Bicol, while 13 died in the nearby region of Eastern Visayas, according to Edgar Posadas, spokesman for the disaster risk reduction office.

    Three other people were killed in other areas affected by the heavy rains, he added.

    "Most of the victims died in landslides," he said.

    Nearly 25,000 people were displaced by the landslides and floods in 13 provinces, according to the agency.

    Each year, the Philippines is hit by an average of 20 cyclones [Simvale Sayat/AFP]

    Some residents in mountainside villages did not move after the tropical depression weakened into a low-pressure area after making landfall, said Ricardo Jalad, executive director of the disaster risk reduction office.

    "Those from the higher ground were of course safe from floods, so they did not evacuate but they were hit with a landslide," he told Manila radio station DZMM.

    The tropical depression was the last cyclone to hit the Philippines in 2018, and was the second deadliest after typhoon Mangkhut in September killed more than 80 people.

    Each year, the Philippines is hit by an average of 20 cyclones, causing floods, landslides and other accidents.

    One of the strongest in recent memory, Typhoon Haiyan, hit the country in November 2013, killing more than 6,300 people and displacing more than four million others.

    SOURCE: DPA news agency