9 October 2009

Typhoon Parma – multiple landslide fatalities in the Philippines

Posted by Dave Petley

Updated: ABS-CBN News are now reporting that “At least 45 bodies have been recovered while dozens more remain missing after a massive landslide buried dozens of houses in La Trinidad, Benguet on Thursday night while tropical depression Pepeng (international codename Parma) was pouring heavy rains over northern Luzon provinces.”

At the end of last week I posted regarding my concerns about the impact of Typhoon Parma on the northern part of Luzon, in particular in relation to the likelihood that it might stall, leading to prolonged heavy rain in this area. Unfortunately, these fears came to pass – the typhoon has been sitting over the northern part of Luzon for several days now, and remains located over the same area, as shown by this map (which also shows the forecast track):

The upshot has been that Luzon has received heavy rain for many days, as this 7 day TRMM rainfall map shows:

The impact is all too predictable I am afraid. This morning the Philippines news agencies are reporting over 100 people killed in the affected area. There have been at least two large landslides. GMA News and others are reporting the following:

  • In the Puguis village, La Trinidad, 34 houses were buries when “a portion of the mountain collapsed”. [Original post: 28] 45 [updated from here] bodies have been recovered, and many more may be missing.
  • In Poblacion village, nine people were killed in a landslide
  • In Barangay Tabio, Mankayan town, four people were killed when they were buried inside their house by a landslide
  • In Tublay town, six people were reported to have been buried in a landslide, including an infant. A worker at the provincial engineering office also killed in a landslide while clearing a road.
  • In Bugias town, two people were killed by a landslide.

In addition, GMA News note that “Retrieval operations are on going for 150 other Benguet residents believed to have been buried beneath the collapsed soil in the affected areas.”

Unfortunately the typhoon track above suggests that this area has still to receive some further very heavy rainfall, so the picture may get considerably worse.