By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
MANILA (Worthy News) – The Philippines experienced an Easter overshadowed by the aftermath of tropical storm Megi, which authorities said killed at least 167 people and left 110 missing.
Megi devastated the central and southern part of the Philippine islands after it hit the archipelago on April 10-11, reportedly affecting more than 1.9 million people.
The most impacted province was Leyte, where landslides buried much of the Baybay and Abuyog towns, authorities said.
Search and rescue efforts were focused on Baybay city, a mountainous area prone to landslides in the eastern Philippines, which has seen the majority of casualties so far.
Images on social media showed bodies, including those of children, being pulled from under thick mud during rescue operations.
It came as the Philippines struggled recently to evacuate many from flooded areas, coastguard spokesperson Commodore Armand Balilo said.
“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 city also sought help from nearby areas to boost its healthcare capacity, he added.
Christian aid worker Merry-Joy Osman told Worthy News that “the government is giving relief to families” ahead of the presidential elections next month. Osman noted, however, that much aid is needed as “many people are affected.”
Yet, Baybay Mayor Jose Carlos Cari told DZMM radio station, “There’s aid like food and medicines, but the problem is management in evacuation centers.”
Philippines authorities recorded nearly 200 floods in several areas in central and southern provinces, with displaced people reaching at least 42,000. Many people left flooded homes and fields and fled to emergency shelters, Christians said.
Besides government support, a foundation of broadcasting firm ABS-CBN said it was waiting for floods to subside before distributing 7,500 food packs.
Tropical storm Megi – also known in the Philippines by its local name Agaton – is the first significant storm to hit the country this year. Megi comes just four months after Super Typhoon Rai killed hundreds of people and left destruction in its wake. It was the worst storm to hit the Philippines last year. The Philippines has been plagued by where tropical storms.
Climate activists blame these natural disasters on climate change, while skeptics have their doubts and say population growth in coastal areas contributes to high death tolls.
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