Most of the landslide victims were pinned to death in the Cordillera mountain area of Natonin when a wall of mud slammed into a public works building, regional disaster management chief Ruben Carandang said.
Public Works Secretary Mark Villar said 10 were confirmed dead in the DPWH building while six were extricated alive. At least 11 people were still inside the buried structure.
“It was not an evacuation center,” Carandang added. “But some sought shelter there, unfortunately.”
READ: Rosita’s death toll climbs to 22, government relief efforts ‘satisfactory
Police from the 3rd Maneuver Platoon at nearby Barangay Bantay, Paracelis, were dispatched to the area to hasten emergency efforts, which were hampered by impassable roads and strong currents from a creek that overflowed.
Chief Supt. Rolando Nana, director of the Cordillera Provincial Police Office, reported a separate landslide in Barangay Alunogan, which killed one person, Jeffrey Salang-ey Nangaowa, 40, in Sitio Iwisan.
Nana said Rosita also claimed the lives of four members of the Pinnay family—Baltazar, 48, and his three daughters, Rexibelle, 12; Rhezel, 10; and Rydbell, 8—who were buried inside their house in Sitio Higib, Brgy Batad, Banaue, Ifugao.
A five-year-old girl was swept away by flash floods in Sitio Mabilong, Lubagan, Kalinga province. Another child was killed after her house got burned down due to a candle that was left unattended.
There wee also reports of deaths in Abra, Tarlac and Batangas caused by landslides, electrocution and drowning.
Search crews were just beginning to assess the damage wrought by the passage of Rosita, which made landfall early Tuesday with sustained winds of 150 kilometers per hour and gusts up to 210 kph.
“We see some branches on the roads and so on, but it is the flooding that is destroying houses here,” International Federation of the Red Cross spokeswoman Caroline Haga said from Nueva Vizcaya province. “People are needing to be rescued.”
Nearly 10,000 people fled their homes ahead of Rosita’s arrival because they live in low-lying areas susceptible to flooding.
The high winds flattened flimsy homes, tore the roofs off others and downed power poles as well as trees.
Landslides spawned by the storm blocked a major road in the mountainous north, isolating some residents, a civil defense official said.
Disaster officials said the storm was less powerful than Ompong, which struck six weeks ago and left more than 100 dead.
Most of the fatalities were due to a landslide in the mining area of Itogon.
Authorities near last month’s deadly landslide evacuated at least 1,000 people from the Itogon area as Rosita approached.
About 11,878 families or 38,398 persons were affected by Rosita, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said in its 6 am update on Wednesday.
Of the total, 7, 263 families or 24, 447 persons were in 424 evacuation centers.
A total of 25 road sections and five bridges were reported damaged.
The NDRRMC also reported that a total of 8,864 families or 32,519 persons were preemptively evacuated in Regions 1,2, 3 and the CAR.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said President Rodrigo Duterte was closely monitoring the situation.
“The President has directed all government agencies to immediately respond and undertake measures to help the victims and families and to rehabilitate the typhoon-ravaged areas, including the clearing and repairing of roads that have become inaccessible or impassable,” he said in a statement Wednesday.
An average of 20 typhoons and storms lash the Philippines each year, killing hundreds of people and leaving millions in near-perpetual poverty.
The Philippines’ deadliest storm on record is Super Typhoon “Yolanda” (“Haiyan”), which left more than 7,350 people dead or missing across the central Philippines in November 2013. With Nat Mariano, AFP, and PNAREAD: Thousands flee as ‘Rosita’ batters Northern Luzon
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