Dozens More Feared Dead In The Philippines After Typhoon Triggers Mudslide

Nicolas Asfouri  AFP via Getty Images

Nicolas Asfouri AFP via Getty Images

Hong Kong residents huddled indoors Sunday and strong winds sent debris flying as Typhoon Mangkhut, the world's strongest storm this year, carved a destructive and deadly path from the Philippines toward mainland China.

Many of those who sought cover in the two-story building thought it was sturdy, but the storm was just too severe, with the avalanche covering it "in just a few seconds", Ullani said.

The storm smashed homes and flooded key agricultural regions in the northern Philippines before battering Hong Kong and southern China with fierce winds and heavy rain. The building was crushed, and 29 people remain missing.

"Even if I said that there is a 99% chance that they are all dead, there is still a 1% chance that I am wrong - declares Mayor of Itogon, Victorio Palangdan - Rescue will continue until the orders us to stop the operations ".

"A lot of refugees wanted to do it because they've got no work and said "this is our city too", said Jeff Andrews, social worker for refugees with NGO Christian Action, which organised the group.

Rescuers used bare hands to remove roofing, slabs of concrete and planks of wood, standing side-by-side, passing debris along a line to a pile 50 feet away.

Benguet Corporation (BC) has denied allegations that it encouraged small-scale mining in Itogon, saying that the miners were operating illegally in an area where extracting activities have been suspended since 1990.

The chamber, of which Benguet Corp is a member, said mining operators in Ucab had been repeatedly told to leave the area because of the threat of landslides.

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Philippine officials have said in the past that gold mines tunneled by big mining companies legally or by unauthorized individuals and small outfits have made the hillsides unstable and more prone to landslides.

Preparation and evacuation procedures have nonetheless improved since Super Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, which killed more than 7000 people.

"From what I see, this will take time".

Palangdan says: "They laughed at our policemen".

A rescuer looks at the site of a landslide where victims are believed to have been buried after Typhoon "Ompong" barreled across Itogon, Benguet province on September 17, 2018.

More than 2.5 million people have been evacuated in Guangdong and on Hainan island.

Mangkhut weakened from a typhoon to a tropical storm as it moved deeper into southern China on Monday.

Because the landslide destroyed roads, authorities have been unable to bring heavy equipment into the area to accelerate the search.

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