Manila, Rescuers in the Philippines are digging through mud to retrieve bodies buried by a landslide that hit as Typhoon Mangkhut battered the country.

At least 32 people in the mining town of Itogon, in Benguet province, were crushed in a single shelter.

Teams are digging through the rubble with their bare hands, passing blocks of concrete and pieces of wood down a 50ft line to clear the area.

Typhoon Mangkhut is now weakening over southern China.

Four people were killed in the province of Guangdong; three by falling trees.

The storm ploughed across the main Philippine island of Luzon over the weekend. More than 60 people have been killed, mostly in landslides triggered by heavy rains, with the majority in Benguet province.

The Chamber of Mines of the Philippines said mining operators had been told to leave, but that a mine near the shelter had been operating illegally.

The Philippine government today said it was deploying security forces to put a stop to illegal small-scale mining in the vast Cordillera mountain region, a practice which is credited with increasing the likelihood of landslides in communities like Itogon.

There is also concern over the economic cost of the typhoon, which has caused extensive damage to farmland in Cagayan, a key agricultural province.

Warnings were issued, travel was restricted, schools closed, and the army was put on standby in advance.

Typhoon Mangkhut is one of the most powerful storms to hit the region in decades. It made landfall on the Chinese coast near Jiangmen city yesterday.

It is now weakening as it makes its way across southern China and has been downgraded to a tropical storm.

More than 2.5 million people have been evacuated in Guangdong and on Hainan island, the BBC reported.

Source: Oman News Agency