MANILA - Super-typhoon Nanmadol (Mina) left at least 16 people dead after hitting the Philippines, and the toll is expected to rise as hopes of finding those missing fade, the civil defense chief said yesterday.
Over 61,000 people have been evacuated from their homes after Nanmadol, the strongest storm to hit the country this year, lashed the northern edge of the main island of Luzon at the weekend, causing landslides and floods.
Most of the 16 killed were buried in landslides, including two children in northern Baguio who were killed in an avalanche of rubbish at the city dump, said civil defense operations chief Benito Ramos.
Eight other people are still missing across the country, feared washed away at sea, in raging rivers, or buried under rubbish, he told AFP.
"The missing are most likely dead but we are still searching for them, it is unlikely they are still alive after two or three days," he said.
Ramos said the dead and missing in garbage dumps were scavengers who made their living foraging for items to salvage, despite the risk that storms could cause the mountain of trash to cascade down upon them.
The problem is widespread in the impoverished Philippines, where people refuse to leave dangerous areas because they need to scratch out a living, he said.
"We know which areas get flooded, which areas are landslide-prone. Every time there is a calamity like the storm, these areas always get flooded then we evacuate the people but afterwards, they come back."
"Super-typhoon" is a term adopted by the Hong Kong Observatory in 2009 to refer to typhoons with winds of at least 185 kilometres (115 miles) an hour.
Large parts of northern Luzon still remain without power after Nanmadol hit with gusts of up to 230 kmh starting on Saturday, the civil defence office added.
The typhoon, named after an ancient site in Micronesia, weakened after clipping Luzon and has moved towards Taiwan and China.
However the storm is still affecting weather patterns in the Philippines, bringing rain to large parts of Luzon, the government weather station said.
Taiwanese authorities have evacuated about 8,000 people, closed down schools and halted rail services as Nanmadol made landfall Monday and swept across some of the island's most densely populated areas.
An average of 20 storms and typhoons, many of them deadly, hit the Philippines annually. The last deadly storms, Nock-ten and Muifa, left at least 70 dead when they hit in July.*AFP
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