Death toll from Christmas weekend floods, landslides climbs to 33
This handout photo courtesy of Angelica Villarta taken on 27 December and received on 28 December shows residents surveying damage caused by heavy rain and floods in Oroquieta City, Misamis Occidental. Photo by Handout / Angelica Villarta / AFP
One person died and three others were missing in the southern Philippines after being hit by a landslide, police said Thursday, 29 December, taking the nationwide death toll from recent rains to at least 33.
Authorities were still searching for more than two dozen other people missing after heavy downpours over the Christmas weekend caused flooding and landslides across central and southern regions.
The latest death happened Wednesday in Mati City in the province of Davao Oriental on Mindanao island when a landslide buried four people as they fished, police said.
The body of a 62-year-old man was recovered and the search for his companions was still underway, Mati City police chief Ernesto Gregore told AFP.
“There was a heavy downpour in the mountains. They were fishing in a river when the landslide occurred,” Gregore said.
The weather turned bad over the weekend as the disaster-prone nation of 110 million people prepared for a long Christmas holiday.
Hundreds of houses have since been destroyed and more than 5,000 hectares (12,400 acres) of crops wiped out by rains that have forced tens of thousands of people into evacuation centers, the national disaster agency said.
Most fatalities have been in the province of Misamis Occidental, also on Mindanao, where 15 people died from drowning or rain-induced landslides.
The Philippines is ranked among the most vulnerable nations to the impacts of climate change, and scientists have warned that storms are becoming more powerful as the world gets warmer.
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