26 dead in Biliran landslides due to Urduja — authorities

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Tacloban City (CNN Philippines, December 17) — Landslides in the province of Biliran left 26 dead and at least 21 missing Saturday after Tropical Storm Urduja hit the country, authorities claimed Sunday.

Caibiran Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (MDRRMC) Officer Lolita Rosel claims at least 16 died in landslides after two tornadoes hit a residential area in Sitio Macalpi, Brgy Cabibihan, Caibiran at around 7 p.m.

The landslides toppled at least nine houses on December 16. Seven bodies have been recovered in the retrieval operation.

Those retrieved were Ronald Español, 27, and his common-law-wife Jessebel Mandaue, 25, their children: four-year-old James Ron and two-year-old Judy Ann, Maylene Bendicion, 33; Manuel Lambunao, 5; and Merlan Sancap, 37.

Losel said they will prohibit other families to return to the area which was declared as a danger zone by authorities.

In the town of Naval, MDRRMC Officer Raoul Villordon claimed six have died. Villordon added 21 people are still missing after a landslide in Brgy. Lucsoon.

In the nearby town of Almeria, four were reported dead after a landslide in the upland area of Sitio Barubuhan, Brgy. Iyusan.

The fatalities' names are Jimmy Jorge, 2; Winnie Garbo, 55; Wilma Garbo, 12; and Maribeth Garbo, 50.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) has yet to confirm the reported the deaths.

Urduja (international name Kai-tak), forced around 87,700 residents in the Visayas region to evacuate due to heavy rains. It was spotted 65 kilometers south of Romblon, Romblon, as of 4 p.m. Sunday.

READ: Urduja weakens, changes course as it heads for Aklan

A report from Department of Public Works and Highway Biliran District Office estimates Urduja cost more than ₱200 million in infrastructure damage.