Philippines devastated by first tropical storm of the year

by mcardinal

Lauren Moye, FISM News


The death toll of devastating Tropical Storm Megi has climbed to over a hundred after landslides buried farming communities and villages in the Philippines. Authorities fear that this number will continue to climb in the coming days.

On Sunday, the first tropical storm of the season battered the Pacific archipelago nation with wind gusts as high as 50mph. However, Megi’s real damage came when it flooded areas like the central Leyte province. The mountainous Baybay area was particularly hard-hit with a devastating loss of life. 

On Thursday, authorities from the Pacific archipelago nation said that the death toll had risen to 138 with 101 of these fatalities coming from Baybay. The day before, the Baybay city government reported 236 additional injuries.

A nearby town, Abuyog, updated their body recoveries to 31 on Thursday. “I have to be honest, we are no longer expecting survivors,” Abuyog Mayor Lemuel Traya previously told Guardian when they had an estimated 150 citizens still missing.

Some areas of the nation are still flooding with national coastguards rescuing survivors. Tens of thousands of other citizens have taken shelter in evacuation centers. However, the national disaster has impeded aid distribution efforts. Reuters reported that an ABS-CBN broadcasting firm foundation was waiting for floods to dissipate before distributing over 7,000 food packs.

In addition, the nation’s water system has been compromised in some places. “Water systems here have been bogged down so our problem is drinking water,” Norberto Oja, a health officer in Baybay, told DZRH radio station.

The Philippines is vulnerable to tropical storms and hurricanes with an annual average of twenty storms. The nation was also devastated by Hurricane Rai back in December

“The communities hit by Megi on Sunday are just starting to heal from the effects of Super Typhoon Rai, which struck the Southern Philippines in December,” Karen Janes Ungar, the Catholic Relief Services representative for the country, said.

She added, “This new storm is devastating for them. For some families, it will have wiped out all the progress they’ve made on recovery.”

The relief service plans to initiate a response to Tropical Storm Megi soon.