By Sarwell Meniano and Roel Amazona
RETRIEVED. Several dead bodies unearthed in Kantagnos village in Baybay City in this April 13, 2022 photo. As of early Thursday (April 14) the death toll in Baybay City, Leyte has climbed to 81 as responders pull out more cadavers from the debris. (Photo courtesy of Bureau of Fire Protection Region 8)
TACLOBAN CITY – The landslide death toll in Baybay City and Abuyog in Leyte has climbed to 113 as of early Thursday as responders pull out more cadavers from the debris.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) regional office said of the 113 cadavers, 81 were retrieved in landslide-hit villages of Baybay City and 32 in landslide-affected communities in Abuyog town.
In an update by Mayor Jose Carlos Cari via Facebook on Wednesday night, the official said some of the bodies were dug from mudslides while others were washed out to the shoreline days after Tropical Depression Agaton dumped heavy rains in the province.
Bodies were unearthed in Mailhi, Bunga, Kantagnos, San Agustin, Maypatag, Pangasugan, Zone 21, Candadam, Caridad, Igang, Sto. Rosario, and Can-ipa villages, all in Baybay City.
“The city has been placed under a state of calamity through an executive order signed on April 11 due to massive landslide and flooding. In Barangay Kantagnos, almost all houses are covered by mud,” Cari said.
In Kantagnos village alone, 26 dead bodies have been retrieved so far and 109 missing persons have been accounted for, the mayor said.
In Abuyog town, of the 32 cadavers found, 29 are in the coastal village of Pilar.
The landslide happened around 3 p.m. on April 12 and the debris covered 80 percent of Pilar, according to the local police.
The search resumed on Thursday for the 177 persons initially identified as missing in Pilar.
Meanwhile, a local official asked for assistance to help the victims of Tropical Depression Agaton not only in the city but in nearby towns as well.
“The entire 5th district of Leyte needs your help once more as many homes and livelihoods have been damaged, families and individuals are missing, and communication lines have been unstable due to major flooding and landslides across our district,” Rep. Carl Nicolas Cari said in a video message posted late Wednesday.
Among the first responders was Ormoc City Mayor Richard Gomez who sent a rescue team, medical team, hygiene kits, medicines, and generator set to Baybay.
The city also sent additional personnel, including ambulance crew and psychological first aiders.
“We will extend all help within our capacity. We have to remember that in those times that we need help, many came to assist us. It’s time for us to give back,” Gomez said.
Other responders are the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry Tacloban – Leyte Inc and the Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation.
Local supporters of presidential candidates Vice President Leni Robredo and former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. also send initial relief assistance to typhoon-affected families.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said it is validating reports of the deaths of 75 persons due to “Agaton” in the Visayas and nearby regions.
This can be broken down into one in Region 6 (Western Visayas), 71 in Region 8 (Eastern Visayas), and three in Region 11 (Davao Region).
Also under validation are reports of 28 missing persons — one in Region 6; 27 in Region 8. Meanwhile, there is also one injured in Region 7 (Central Visayas) and another in Region 11.
As of this posting, the NDRRMC said only one death has been confirmed so far in Region 8, two injured in Region 10 (Northern Mindanao), and another four injured in Region 12 (Soccsksargen), with one missing in Region 6.
The total number of affected barangays as of this time is 1,296 and these are located in Regions 5 (Bicol Region), 6, 7, 8, 10, 11,12, Caraga, and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
Residing in these affected barangays are 279,557 families or the equivalent of 920,727 persons.
Damage to agriculture was estimated at PHP135 million in Regions 6, 8, 10, 12, and the BARMM. (With a report from Priam F. Nepomuceno/PNA)