Ompong death toll climbs to 74: police

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 18 2018 11:25 AM

MANILA - The number of people who died in the onslaught of typhoon Ompong in Luzon climbed to 74, while at least 55 more remain missing, police said Tuesday morning.

Data from the "partial report" by the PNP National Operations Center also showed over 20,000 individuals remain in different evacuation centers after the typhoon destroyed houses and roads in their areas.

Ompong, the strongest typhoon to hit the country this year so far, brought intense rains in Central and Northern Luzon that triggered massive floods and landslides. 

In Itogon, Benguet alone a 300-meter mountain slope in Barangay Ucab collapsed at the height of the typhoon, burying dozens of miners in a bunkhouse in the landslide. 

Itogon Mayor Victorio Palangdan said 14 bodies have been recovered from the site Tuesday morning. These fatalities are just among the total of 39 people who also died in other landslides in the town.

Rescuers, alongside policemen, soldiers, and other volunteers, continue to dig through the thick mud in Barangay Ucab with their bare hands, shovels, and pickaxes hoping the find signs of life.

Mayor Palangdan has blamed mining for the landslides. Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu had ordered the stoppage of all small-scale mining activities in the Cordillera Region, both legal and illegal. 

--report from Maan Macapagal, ABS-CBN News