At least 25 people have died so far in landslides and floods in the Philippines after Tropical Storm Megi swept the nation.
On Tuesday, rescue crews were still battling to retrieve people stranded on the eastern and southern coasts. Megi- known locally as Agaton hit the archipelago on Sunday with winds of up to 65km (40 miles) per hour.
It was the first such storm of the year – the Philippines typically sees an average of 20 each year. More than 13,000 people fled to higher-ground shelters as the storm lashed the east coast. Heavy rain and winds knocked out power supply, flooded homes and fields and caused mudslides in villages.
Images shared by authorities and locals online showed rescuers wading through muddy swamps and using rafts on fast-flowing rivers to try and reach isolated areas of submerged homes.
One of the worst affected areas was the province of Leyte, where 22 bodies had been retrieved after being buried under a landslide, local authorities in Baybay city said on Monday.
“I was crying because I know the people buried there and I was also scared because there were mountains behind our house,” one Leyte resident told news agency AFP.
The national disaster agency also confirmed that at least three people had died in the Davao region in the south. The storm’s conditions were due to ease Tuesday.
It comes about four months after Super Typhoon Rai devastated many of the nation’s south-east islands in December – killing at least 375 people and affecting about 500,000 people.
It was the worst storm to hit the Philippines that year and experts said it had grown stronger far quicker than anticipated.
Scientists say human-caused climate change has led to a greater intensity and power in tropical storms. The Philippines has experienced some of its most deadly storms since 2006.
It’s been ranked as one of the nations most vulnerable to climate disasters due to its geography.