17 September 2018
Barangay Ucab: many dead after Typhoon Mangkhut in the Philippines
As expected, Typhoon Mangkhut (known locally at Typhoon Ompong) triggered many landslides along its track as it passed across the Philippines this weekend. The most serious incident appears to have occurred in Barangay Ucab in Benguet province. At this location a large landslide has buried the living quarters housing up to 100 miners; the picture is slightly unclear as to how many have lost their lives, but to date at least 33 bodies have been recovered. The recovery operations are being hampered by many other landslides in this area.
The best image that I have found so far is this one, which appears to show the crushed buildings:-
ABS CBN News note that this landslide occurred in a mining area that had been abandoned in 2009 “after an accident”, although it is not clear what this might have been. Melanie Froude and I noted in our recent paper (Froude and Petley 2018) that landslides associated with illegal mining are on the increase globally; this appears to be another tragic example. The same article also suggests that there had been attempts to evacuate the site prior to the slide:
“They thought their area was safe so they turned it into an evacuation center by themselves. We did not allow them to do so, but they threatened to fight us off so our policemen were forced to just leave”
But this landslide at Barangay Ucab is by no means the only landslide event to have caused loss of life in the Philippines. So far there is no detailed itemisation of the losses (this will be available in due course), but there are reports of many other, smaller landslides. Meanwhile, the true impact of the storm in southern China is yet to become clear.
Froude, M. J. and Petley, D. N. 2018. Global fatal landslide occurrence from 2004 to 2016. Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, 18, 2161-2181, https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-18-2161-2018.