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The Philippines’ Season Of Grief

October 10, 2009

BENGUET SLIDE MONTAGE

The numbers are still being tallied and cross tallied.

But it is now certain that the landslides triggered by overstaying typhoon Pepeng in the mountain province of Benguet are the deadliest episodes in this season of grief.

The collapse of a mountainside loosened by unrelenting rains buried a whole village of 20n to 30 homes in La Trinidad town, plus several others in Baguio City itself between Thursday and Friday.

The most conservative report puts the dead at 122 while the latest has the fatality county hovering at between 150 and 181, with dozens still missing.

The mudslides have brought the death toll to more than 450 from the Philippines’ worst flooding in 40 years after back-to-back storms started pounding Luzon, including Metro Manila, on September 26.

The Associated Press, quoting provincial officials, said more than 160 people were killed in the landslides in Benguet and Mountain Province.

An excerpt from the mainstrean news accounts:

The fatalities included 120 in Benguet, according to Governor Nestor Fongwan, the AP said. It said another 23 died in Mountain Province, according to Governor Max Dalog. Twenty-five 25 people died in Baguio.
Agence France-Presse put the death toll from the landslides at 181.
Disaster officials said at least 137 people have died while 43 more remain missing after a series of rain-triggered landslides overnight Thursday and on Friday affected the Cordilleras.
At least 54 people were reportedly killed in Baguio City due to a landslide. Seven more people died in a landslide that hit Tublay municipality.

The very dark shadow of death hangs over Northern Luzon this weekend.

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