Mudflows From Mt. Pinatubo Kill 8, Force 50,000 Filipinos to Flee Homes
Steaming mudflows thundered down from Mt. Pinatubo volcano and buried hundreds of houses in their path, leaving eight people dead and forcing about 50,000 others from their homes, Philippine officials said Sunday.
The mudflows struck the northern Philippine region, already reeling from two weeks of heavy flooding that has severely affected more than 800,000 people, the social welfare department said.
The mudflows and floods followed warnings from scientists that Pinatubo, shaken by hundreds of volcanic earthquakes daily since last week, was gearing for another big eruption. It killed about 800 people in a violent explosion last year.
Police said they were using helicopters, rubber boats with frogmen, military trucks, outrigger canoes and school buses to rescue families trapped in low-lying villages since Saturday by floods and mudflows up to nine feet high.
“The trouble with us Filipinos is that we do not want to move until we see the mudflows or the floods coming our way,” Police Chief Danilo Paras of Tarlac province, one of the badly hit areas, said by telephone.
The eight deaths brought to 17 the number of people killed in mudflows and floods in four provinces since Aug. 14, when the flooding, induced by monsoon rains, started.
The floods have hit more than 40 towns and more than 400 villages.