MANILA – The Philippine authorities raised on Wednesday the death toll to 81 and the number of missing to 70 following Typhoon Mangkhut’s path through the north of the country, where rescue teams are continuing their search for dozens of people trapped in a mine buried by a landslide.
According to the latest data from the National Police, there are also 71 injured due to the strongest typhoon of the season that swept the north of the island of Luzon on Saturday.
Out of those missing, 66 have been registered in the Cordillera region where the mining town of Itogon, Benguet province, is located. There, at least 39 deaths have been confirmed at a mine as rescue teams work to find the missing.
In Itogon, floods and landslides caused by Mangkhut also buried an area with gold mining sites and several makeshift shelters where some miners and their families lived illegally.
Some 200 people, including experts and volunteers, have been working since Sunday to rescue those trapped and as of Tuesday night had recovered 19 bodies by digging with picks and shovels in the mud as heavy machinery could not reach the area.
The number affected by the typhoon now exceeds one million and some 148,400 people are being helped inside and outside evacuation centers, according to the latest data published Wednesday by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.
Authorities estimated that most of these people will have to stay at least three more weeks in the centers, where hygiene, sanitation and drinking water conditions are becoming increasingly precarious, according to the Red Cross.
“In this first intervention, our priority is to guarantee water and sanitation to the affected population, and later we will focus on the economic security of the families,” the head of Red Cross’ Spain delegation in the Philippines, Luis Carrasco, told EFE.
Red Cross teams are planning to deploy water treatment plants in Benguet as they have not yet managed to reach further north.
“As we go north and find water points, we will install more treatment plants,” Carrasco said.