Friday, 19 October, 2018

Philippines typhoon: Families line up to identify landslide dead

Philippines halts risky mining in mountains hit by typhoon Hong Kong's cruise calls back on track after Super Typhoon Mangkhut
Gerardo Duncan | 20 September, 2018, 10:17

Philippines authorities on Wednesday raised the death toll to 81 and the number of missing to 70 following typhoon Mangkhut's path through the country's north where rescuers continue searching for dozens of people trapped in a mine buried by a landslide.

The ban covers about 10,000 small-scale miners in Benguet's Itogon town, where dozens of poor miners and their families were feared buried alive after seeking shelter at the height of the storm in a chapel that had once been a miners' bunkhouse.

Of the hundreds digging through the debris, many were miners themselves who were looking for friends and relatives, determined to make sure they received a proper burial.

As the storm ripped through the Philippines, on September 15, footage emerged of the raging floodwaters that had wrecked homes and triggered landslides.

In Hong Kong, an impressive cleaning operation is under way to remove broken trees, fix rough roads and restore damaged power lines.

The death toll in the Philippines from Typhoon Mangkhut has climbed to 81 and could hit a triple-digit figure as searchers are still looking for missing people, Philippine authorities said on September 19.

"They can't decide for themselves where to go", he said of the children, expressing frustration that the tragedy was not prevented.

At a $1 billion insurance market loss, typhoon Mangkhut would be the most costly to ever strike Hong Kong.

But Tuesday was already the fourth day after the slide and while officials spoke of a possible miracle, the miners were more sombre.

"We know disasters can make life especially hard for some groups, so we're putting in place measures to protect a diverse group of people, including children, women-headed households, men and boys made vulnerable by the disaster, people with disabilities and older people".

The head of the military's Northern Luzon Command, Emmanuel Salamat, told Reuters that at least 19 more were killed in landslides in one part of Benguet Province alone.

"We are very optimistic that we can finish this with the assistance of all the sectors, of the military and civilian side, as well as the local government units", she said.

The Hong Kong Observatory said Mangkhut would bring heavy downfall and frequent squalls, despite the storm weakening slightly. A lot of them are miners who disregarded repeated warnings to evacuate.

After tearing through the Philippines, Mangkhut made landfall across Hong Kong and China and has been downgraded to a Tropical Storm.

Initially the recovered bodies had been carried up the hill in a two-hour hike, but rescuers devised a rope system which enabled them to pull the remains of those found up to where family members were waiting for news.

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