Philippines military vows to keep up with search after Cyclone Megi

Philippines military vows to keep up with search after Cyclone Megi

The Philippine military pledged to keep up with search and rescue efforts after tropical storm Megi ripped through central areas this week, burying many underlandslides and killing at least 123 people.

Megi was the first cyclone this year to hit the Philippines, an archipelago of more than 7,600 islands that sees an average of 20 tropical storms a year.

Eighty six of the deaths were in Baybay, a mountainous area prone to landslides in Leyte province, where 236 people were also injured, the city government said in a report.

Three others drowned in different provinces, while six people were still missing, the national disaster agency said.

A Philippine Army infantry unit in Baybay said on Facebook that the search, rescue and retrieval operations will continue.

Aerial photographs and video from the local government show collapsed slopes, burying coconut plantations and houses in dirt and mud. In one area, rescuers had to use rubber boats to reach a landslide.

Megi, which made landfall on Sunday with sustained winds of up to 65 kilometres 40 miles per hour and gusts of up to 80 kph 49 mph, has since dissipated.

The Kantagnos district had been devastated by an army engineering and construction battalion on Leyte's Facebook. The post said that homes and livelihoods have been damaged, families and individuals are missing and communication has been unstable.

More than 162,000 displaced people are sheltering in evacuation centres, while 41,000 are living with relatives, according to government data.

Megi's destructive path has revived memories of other deadly storms in the Philippines.

In December, Category 5 typhoon Rai ravaged the central Philippines, with the death toll reaching 405 and nearly 1,400 injured. One of the most powerful tropical cyclones recorded in 2013 was the Typhoon Haiyan, killing 6,300 in 2013.