At least 63 dead in landslide-hit Abuyong, Baybay: PNP
By Robina Asido
At least 63 people died while 27 others are still missing and hundreds were injured because of the landslide and flooding incidents in Leyte and Samar provinces due to Tropical Storm ''Agaton''.
Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac, Eastern Visayas regional police director, told dzBB Wednesday afternoon that 15 deaths were recorded in Abuyog while one drowned in Samar.
With 47 deaths earlier reported in Baybay, this brought the number of deaths
Banac said a total of 236 victims were injured because of the effect of Tropical Depresion Agaton in Baybay City and Abuyog.
"If we are expecting survivors, it will be difficult because the soil is like a rice porridge. It's like mud mixed with water so using heavy equipment is not possible," said Banac.
"Temporarily the initial response of police and military is to use shovels and pick axes," he added.
In a telephone interview with the Daily Manila Shimbun earlier, Capt. Kaharudin Cadil, civil military operations officer of the 802nd Infantry Brigade, said a total of 47 fatalities were already recorded in the city of Baybay, Leyte.
Mayor Jose Carlos Cari of Baybay City placed his area under a state of a calamity. He said authorities are conducting retrieval operations in Barangays Bunga and Mailhi.
"The rain has stopped. That is why all the operation now has resumed," he said.
In another radio interview, Mayor Lemuel Gin Traya of Abuyog, Leyte said there is a coastal barangay in their town that was totally affected by the landslide and big waves.
"There is a barangay that was hit by landslide, 80 percent of the houses was covered with soil after the landslide there was a shockwave. The remaining 20 percent were damage because this is a coastal barangay," he said.
"There was a big wave which I can't explain why it moved sideways which hit homes at the coastal area," he added.
Traya said the government is planning to evacuate residents in Barangay Pilar as they are also scared of a possible landslide.
He said rescue teams could not start operation as the soil remains unstable.
" It is very risky for our rescuers. So what we do is we prioritize those that we can rescue," said Traya. DMS