Philippine typhoon death toll reaches 82

THE death toll from back-to-back typhoons that pummelled the Philippines last week has reached 82, the government says.

Several towns on the main island of Luzon were flooded by Typhoon Nesat, which struck on September 27 and by Typhoon Nalgae five days later.

The previous death toll for the two typhoons was 58. The figure climbed dramatically after the bodies of people reported missing earlier were confirmed dead, the civil defence office said.

Another 25 people remain unaccounted for, according to the office. More than half the victims drowned, it said, with others dying from accidents related to the typhoons.

Meteorologists said Nesat and Nalgae were the most powerful storms this year to hit the Philippines, which endures an estimated 20 typhoons annually.

Nesat triggered dramatic storm surges in the capital Manila, while its massive rain band caused flooding across Luzon’s agricultural plains that forced people on to their roofs.

 Nalgae’s subsequent rains compounded the emergency situation for about 1.5 million people across Luzon, more than 270,000 of whom remained in evacuation centres today.

Water as high as 3.6m swamped dozens of towns across Luzon’s fertile rice growing central region, stranding residents on their roofs or the upper floors of their homes for a week before they started subsiding.

The civil defence office said some areas remained flooded with knee-deep water today and relief operations were continuing, although the worst of the crisis was over.

The damage bill for infrastructure and agriculture has reached $A230 million, the office says.

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