Landslides kill 122 in Philippines

A boatman transports three empty wooden coffins on the edge of Laguna Lake east of Manila on Thursday.
Landslides unleashed by tropical depression Parma across the Philippine province of Benguet have killed at least 122 people and left 31 missing, officials said Friday.

Four people had been found alive in debris and at least 22 had been injured by landslides that started Thursday afternoon and continued all night, affecting several municipalities, said Elmer Foria, police senior superintendent. Parma, which had been downgraded from a typhoon, poured more rain onto sodden and already weakened ground. Flooding had inundated 32 towns and two cities, Dagupan and Urdaneta, according to Rocky Baraan, provincial administrator of Pangasinan. Some 35,000 people had fled to evacuation centers, the official Philippines News Agency reported, citing the Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council. The worst-hit areas included Bayambang, Alcala and Basista, the news agency reported. People clambered onto rooftops as floodwaters rose, calling and texting for help. Rescue trucks were hampered by floodwaters that reach the roofs of single-story houses, Baraan said. About 16 rubber rescue boats had been deployed. The U.S. Navy was expected to join rescue operations in Pangasinan, according to the agency.

In the last several days, water has become the Philippines’ biggest enemy, as Parma, locally known as “Pepeng,” dumped as much as 36 inches (91.4 centimeters) of rain in some parts of the nation of islands, compounding misery in areas already flooded by earlier storm Ketsana. Parma was forecast to have winds of no greater than 39 mph (63 kph) by Friday. Watch water seep into houses because of the floods