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After Tropical Storm Megi wreaked havoc on the Philippines, at least 53 people were killed in landslides and floods.

On Wednesday, rescuers were digging through dirt and wading through chest-high water in inundated communities in search of survivors. Officials predict that the death toll from Sunday’s natural calamity will continue to rise. Villages in the middle Leyte province’s Baybay city have been particularly hard damaged.

Avalanches on the hillside and overflowing rivers obliterated homes and buried many people alive. According to CNN, at least 47 people were killed in the area, according to the city’s mayor, Jose Carlos Cari. A government official told news agency AFP that about 80% of the houses in one village, Pilar, had been washed out to sea.

Deaths have also been reported in the southern Davao region, Mindanao, and the center Negros Orientals province, according to the Philippines’ national disaster agency. Authorities estimate that the storm has impacted over 100,000 people in the Philippines’ southern and eastern islands. When the storm, locally known as Agaton, slammed the archipelago on Sunday with winds of up to 65 km/h, many people evacuated to shelters or higher ground (40mph).

The Philippines Coast Guard has released photos of rescuers carrying the injured on stretchers through chest-high water and ferrying survivors down flooded streets on rafts. Constant rain has hampered the rescue attempt, however conditions improved on Tuesday. It was the first of the year’s storms, with the Philippines seeing an average of 20 per year. It comes four months after Super Typhoon Rai wreaked havoc on many of the country’s south-east islands in December, killing at least 375 people and hurting 500,000 more. It was the worst storm to hit the Philippines that year, and experts say it intensified more faster than expected.

According to AFP, a national disaster agency spokesperson stated on Tuesday that the landslide surrounding Baybay city had spread to regions “beyond the danger zone.” “It’s meant to be the dry season,” Marissa Miguel Cano, a public information officer in Baybay, told the news agency. “But maybe climate change has upended that.” Tropical storms have become more intense and powerful as a result of human-caused climate change, according to scientists. Since 2006, the Philippines has been hit by some of the world’s deadliest hurricanes.

Because of its location, it has been named one of the countries most vulnerable to climatic calamities.

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