12 October 2009

Update: landslides triggered by typhoon Parma (Pepeng) in the Philippines

Posted by Dave Petley

This is an update on this post.

Information continues to trickle in about the landslides triggered by typhoon Parma (known as Pepeng in the Philippines). The following is a compilation from a variety of sources.

  • The confirmed current toll is 193 dead, with 101 injured and 46 people reported missing;
  • The landslide in Puguis village in La Trinidad (Benguet) is known to have killed 104 people, with rescue operations continuing;
  • The major road network in Benguet remains severely affected, with about 40 landslides blocking passage;
  • (from here) In Baguio City itself 53 people were killed in landslides into shanty towns. This includes 12 people in a slide at Barangay Crescencia on Thursday; 11 people (and 1 missing) in Barangay Irisan; and eight from a slide in Lower Kitma;
  • In Sitio Bulala, Barangay Kayan East in Tadian town, Mountain Province, 38 bodies have been recovered from a large landslide. A further 10 people are reported to be missing;
  • In Bunga in Tadian town, a residential house was buried on Thursday afternoon, killing three people.

I feel deeply frustrated by this disaster. Most of the fatal landslides occurred on Thursday of last week (8th October). I first posted on the dangers of this typhoon on Thursday 1st October (a week before the disaster!):

“…it is currently forecast to move rather slowly as it crosses Luzon, and then to hang around for a while. Note that forecasts this far in advance are quite uncertain, but if the current forecast track is maintained then things will get very nasty in the northern Philippines, given how wet the ground must be after Typhoon Ketsana.”

Then on Friday 2nd October, I wrote:
“The main point of this post is to highlight the continued threat of Typhoon Parma to the northern Philippines. The current track forecast has it making landfall in the next day or so in the northern part of Luzon. The forecasts are still that it will stall as it makes its way across that area – this is typically the scenario that leads to very heavy rainfall and hence many landslides”.