Super typhoon leaves 74 dead in Luzon. Rescuers still digging in Itogon

About 40 people are still trapped in the landslide. Mangkhut, the most powerful storm in 2018, has destroyed homes and flooded important agricultural regions in the northern Philippines. Also hit Hong Kong and southern China.

Manila (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Hundreds of rescuers continue to dig bare-handed, hoping to reach the victims of a massive landslide that is feared to have killed dozens of people in the province hardest hit by super typhoon Mangkhut. Meanwhile, the official death toll from the storm has risen 74.

The typhoon, the most powerful in 2018, destroyed homes and flooded important agricultural regions in the northern Philippines, before hitting Hong Kong and southern China with strong winds and heavy rains. In Hong Kong, an impressive cleaning operation is under way to remove broken trees, repair rough roads and restore damaged power lines. The violent storm killed four people in the southern province of Guangdong, China.

According to the Filipino police, in the north of the island of Luzon the victims are currently 74, but the toll is destined to rise. About 40 people are still trapped in the landslide in Itogon (province of Benguet), which took place three days ago.

"Even if I said that there is a 99% chance that they are all dead, there is still a 1% chance that I am wrong - declares Mayor of Itogon, Victorio Palangdan - Rescue will continue until the orders us to stop the operations ".

The area was prone to disaster before Mangkhut struck, due to almost a month of constant monsoon rains. Almost all the victims of the storm died in the dozens of wild landslides that took place along the Cordillera mountain range, an important area for gold mining.

In the north of Luzon, an island that produces much of the nation's rice and corn, farms are flooded with muddy water. Farmers are trying to gauge which of their crops can be saved. However, according to estimates, the losses would amount to more than 100 million US dollars.