Philippine leader blames deforestation for killer mudslide

Oct 31, 2022, 1:08 PM | Updated: Nov 1, 2022, 1:11 am
Rescuers use a backhoe to search for missing bodies in a mudslide after Tropical Storm Nalgae hit B...

Rescuers use a backhoe to search for missing bodies in a mudslide after Tropical Storm Nalgae hit Barangay Kusiong, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao province, southern Philippines on Monday Oct. 31, 2022. Philippine officials say more than 100 people have died in one of the most destructive storms to lash the Philippines this year. (AP Photo)

(AP Photo)

              In this photo provided by the Philippine Coast Guard, rescuers continue their search for missing bodies at Barangay Kusiong, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao province, southern Philippines on Monday, Oct. 31, 2022. Several people have died in one of the most destructive storms to lash the Philippines this year with dozens more feared missing after villagers were buried in a boulder-laden mudslide. (Philippine Coast Guard via AP)
            
              Rescuers continue to search for missing bodies in a mudslide after Tropical Storm Nalgae hit Barangay Kusiong, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao province, southern Philippines, Monday Oct. 31, 2022. Philippine officials say more than 100 people have died in one of the most destructive storms to lash the Philippines this year. (AP Photo)
            
              Rescuers search for missing bodies in a mudslide after Tropical Storm Nalgae hit Barangay Kusiong, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao province, southern Philippines on Monday Oct. 31, 2022. Philippine officials say more than 100 people have died in one of the most destructive storms to lash the Philippines this year. (AP Photo)
            
              Family members grieve in front of the burial site of their relatives that were retrieved after Tropical Storm Nalgae hit Barangay Kusiong, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao province, southern Philippines on Monday Oct. 31, 2022. Philippine officials say more than 100 people have died in one of the most destructive storms to lash the Philippines this year. (AP Photo)
            
              A woman grieves in front of the burial site of her relatives that were retrieved after Tropical Storm Nalgae hit Barangay Kusiong, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao province, southern Philippines on Monday Oct. 31, 2022. Philippine officials say more than 100 people have died in one of the most destructive storms to lash the Philippines this year. (AP Photo)
            
              Rescuers use a backhoe to search for missing bodies in a mudslide after Tropical Storm Nalgae hit Barangay Kusiong, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao province, southern Philippines on Monday Oct. 31, 2022. Philippine officials say more than 100 people have died in one of the most destructive storms to lash the Philippines this year. (AP Photo)

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Tuesday blamed years of deforestation for a deadly mudslide that buried a mountainside community amid last week’s torrential rains set off by a storm that has left more than 130 people dead across the country.

During an aerial inspection of the widespread damage wrought by Tropical Storm Nalgae in southern Maguindanao province, the president said he pointed out to the provincial governor how the mudslides cascaded on denuded slopes of Mount Minandar.

“I noticed that in all places where the landslides came down, the mountains were bald. That’s the problem,” Marcos Jr. told provincial governors in a televised meeting with key Cabinet members in Maguindanao to discuss the worst natural disaster he faced since taking office in June.

“We have to include tree-planting in our flood control,” he said. “We have been hearing about this over and over again, but we still cut the trees, so that’s what happens, these landslides.”

The storm’s vast rain clouds swamped a wide swath of the Philippine archipelago, leaving at least 132 people dead and lashing another 2.4 million people, including some who had to be rescued from the roofs of flooded houses. More than 6,500 houses were either damaged, torn down or swept away by flash floods, according to disaster-response officials.

The storm made landfall Saturday in the eastern Philippines and blew out into the South China Sea on Sunday.

The worst-hit area was Maguindanao’s Kusiong village, which lies between the foothills of Mount Minandar and the Moro Gulf.

A night of heavy downpour Thursday loosened the upper reaches of the mountainside which crashed down in a boulder- and tree-laden deluge and buried about 5 hectares (12 acres) of the community, populated largely by the Teduray ethnic group, officials said.

Twenty-one bodies, including those of children, have been pulled out by more than 260 army, police, firefighters, coast guard and civilian rescuers backed by a backhoe, two payloaders and sniffer dogs, said army Maj. Gen. Roy Galido.

Only four remain missing, Galido said, citing Kusiong village leaders. But other local officials fear entire families may be buried, leaving no one to report them as missing.

Naguib Sinarimbo, the interior minister for a Muslim autonomous region run by former separatist guerrillas that includes Maguindanao, told Marcos Jr. that a “major number of deaths” had occurred in Kusiong either due to the mudslide or flash floods that swept away houses and people. He did not elaborate but told The Associated Press earlier that between 80 to 100 people may have either been swept away by flash floods or hit by the mudslide.

A video provided by the coast guard to media on Monday showed some of its men helping search for buried bodies in Kusiong by poking long wooden sticks into the muddy, light-brownish sludge.

Officials told the president that disaster-preparedness has been complicated by the more unpredictable weather, including in Maguindanao, a mountainous region with marshy plains, which in the past was rarely hit by storms. Marcos Jr., a former provincial governor, agreed, saying it’s been difficult to decide where to deploy rescue boats and other earth-moving equipment as typhoons approached.

“That’s the problem today, there’s really climate change now. It’s undeniable,” he said.

About 20 typhoons and storms batter the Philippine archipelago each year. It is located on the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” a region along most of the Pacific Ocean rim where many volcanic eruptions and earthquakes occur, making the nation one of the world’s most disaster-prone.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - A scooterist drives past a wall painted with Air India planes in Mumbai, India, Thursday, Ja...
Associated Press

India’s Tata Sons to merge Air India with Vistara airlines

NEW DELHI (AP) — India’s oldest and largest conglomerate, Tata Sons, will merge its Air India with Vistara, which it jointly runs with Singapore Airlines, in a major step toward revamping the country’s debt-laden national carrier. The merger will strengthen Singapore Airlines’ foothold in India’s fast-growing aviation market, the company said in a statement. It […]
23 hours ago
Currency traders watch monitors at the foreign exchange dealing room of the KEB Hana Bank headquart...
Associated Press

Asian shares mostly higher ahead of Fed chair’s key speech

TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares were mostly higher on Wednesday, ahead of a closely watched speech by the Federal Reserve chief that may give clues about future interest rate hikes. Investors were also eyeing developments in China, where protests have erupted over the “zero-COVID” strategy that has confined millions of people to their homes, sometimes […]
23 hours ago
Associated Press

2 dead as bomber hits Pakistan police protecting polio teams

QUETTA, Pakistan (AP) — A suicide bomber blew himself up near a truck carrying police officers on their way to protect polio workers outside Quetta on Wednesday, killing two people and wounding more than 20 others, mostly policemen, officials said. Ghulam Azfer Mehser, a senior police officer, said the attack happened when the policemen were […]
23 hours ago
Lauren Gilbert, a senior manager at the Center for Jewish History (CJH), participate in a global on...
Associated Press

Holocaust survivors offered DNA tests to help find family

NEW YORK (AP) — For decades, Jackie Young had been searching. Orphaned as an infant, he spent the first few years of his life in a Nazi internment camp in what is now the Czech Republic. After World War II he was taken to England, adopted and given a new name. As an adult, he […]
23 hours ago
Associated Press

Tuesday’s Scores

BOYS PREP BASKETBALL= Grandview 86, Sunnyside 53 Mountain View 74, Evergreen (Vancouver) 60 Post Falls, Idaho 76, Lewis and Clark 57 POSTPONEMENTS AND CANCELLATIONS= Sedro-Woolley vs. Meadowdale, ppd. to Dec 3rd. ___ Some high school basketball scores provided by Scorestream.com, https://scorestream.com/ Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, […]
23 hours ago
Associated Press

Tuesday’s Scores

GIRLS PREP BASKETBALL= Cashmere 53, Warden 47 Deer Park 60, Connell 13 Gonzaga Prep 67, Walla Walla 38 Mt. Spokane 61, Chiawana 58 Post Falls, Idaho 76, Lewis and Clark 57 Ridgefield 44, Prairie 37 Sunnyside 64, Grandview 56 University 66, Hanford 58 POSTPONEMENTS AND CANCELLATIONS= Dayton/Waitsburg vs. Touchet, ccd. North Mason vs. Chimacum, ppd. […]
23 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
Philippine leader blames deforestation for killer mudslide