Tropical storm causes landslides and leaves at least 56 dead in Philippines

The storm comes about four months after Typhoon Rai battered the southeast islands in December killing at least 375 people. Credit: AP

At least 56 people have been killed in landslides and floods in the Philippines after a tropical storm wreaked havoc on the island country.

The summer storm has been raging since Sunday, and has unleashed days of pounding rain in the central and southern islands.

Search and rescue efforts were ongoing on Tuesday to retrieve those who were still missing.

One of the hardest hit areas was the city of Baybay in the Leyte province, where nearly 200 villagers were injured in landslides.

The army, police and other rescuers were battling with mud and unstable heaps of earth and debris to find stranded villagers.

A man is carried after being rescued from a landslide in Baybay on Monday Credit: AP

“We’re looking for so many more missing people," Baybay's mayor, Jose Carlos Cari, said on Wednesday, adding authorities would do a recount to determine how many villagers were really missing and believed buried in the landslides.

Forty-seven of the dead were recovered from the landslides that hit six Baybay villages, military and local officials said. Nine other people drowned elsewhere in floodwaters in four central and southern provinces, they said.

“We are saddened by this dreadful incident that caused an unfortunate loss of lives and destruction of properties," said army brigade commander Col. Noel Vestuir, who was helping oversee the search and rescue.

Rescuers evacuate a resident to safer ground at Abuyog, Leyte province, central Philippines on Sunday Credit: AP

Coast guard, police and firefighters rescued some villagers Monday in flooded central communities, including some who were trapped on their roofs.

In central Cebu city, schools and work were suspended on Monday and Mayor Michael Rama declared a state of calamity to allow the rapid release of emergency funds.

It comes about four months after Typhoon Rai battered the southeast islands in December killing at least 375 people.

At least 20 storms and typhoons batter the Philippines each year, mostly during the rainy season that begins around June.

The disaster-prone Southeast Asian nation also lies on the Pacific “Ring of Fire", where many of the world’s volcanic eruptions and earthquakes occur.

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