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Rescuers search for victims in a house buried by a landslide
Rescuers searching for victims in a house buried by a landslideImage: AP Photo/picture alliance

Storm Kompasu leaves trail of death in Philippines

October 14, 2021

Fatalities have been reported in several regions after Tropical Storm Kompasu barreled across the Philippines, with climate change making the extreme rainfall increasingly deadly.


The Philippines national disaster agency said on Thursday that at least 30 people died in recent days due to the severe Tropical Storm Kompasu.

Since last weekend, the weather system has battered the northern Philippines, dumping a month's worth of rain in just two days.

How badly was Kompasu hit?

Kompasu wreaked the most havoc in provinces on the northern island of Luzon — the country's most populous.

Ilocos Sur reported 14 deaths, followed by the provinces of Benguet and Palawan. 

Most of the fatalities were caused by being trapped in landslides or swept away by flash floods, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said.

At least nine people are also missing.

The storm caused more than a billion Philippine pesos (almost $20 million, more than €17 million) worth of damage to the farming sector.

Official figures show it affected some 200,000 people, and nearly 15,000 remain evacuated from their homes.

'New normal' of climate change

NDRRMC spokesman Mark Timbal was quoted by the AFP news agency as saying climate change had made cyclones increasingly deadly.

People cross floodwaters caused by tropical cyclone Kompasu during an evacuation
The large amount of rain in such a short space of time meant many homes had to be evacuatedImage: Philippine coast guard via REUTERS

The warmer the atmosphere is, the more water it will hold, increasing the risk and intensity of flooding.

"This continues to pose a challenge to our disaster management system — we always have to step up our preparations in view of the worst-case scenario for every natural hazard," Timbal said.

"It's a new normal caused by climate change."

Where's the storm now?

Tropical Storm Kompasu, named after the Japanese word for compass and known in the Philippines as "Maring," crossed the northern tip of the island of Luzon on Monday night.

It is now outside Philippine territory, west of China's Hainan province and heading north to Vietnam.

An average of about 20 tropical cyclones hit the archipelago nation every year.

In recent memory, the worst to hit was Typhoon Haiyan in November 2013, which killed more than 6,300 people and displaced more than 4 million.

rc/fb (AFP, dpa, EFE)

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