Tropical storm Megi has killed more than 40 people in the Philippines.

As the authorities announced on Tuesday, at least 42 people died in landslides caused by heavy rain.

With shovels and bare hands, rescue workers searched for survivors in the masses of earth and mud.

The search was made more difficult by flooding and persistent rainfall.

Tropical storm Megi, known as Agaton in the Philippines, swept across the center and south of the island nation on Sunday.

Houses, streets and fields were flooded.

More than 17,000 people had to leave their homes and apartments.

The province of Leyte in the center of the country was hardest hit.

From there, 36 dead, more than a hundred injured and 26 missing were reported.

There were three deaths each in the province of East Negros and on the southern island of Mindanao, according to the civil protection authority.

The mountain village of Mailhi suffered the most deaths in Leyte, where a mudslide buried houses and people.

According to an army spokesman, 14 bodies were found in the mud.

In the village of Bunga, a hill covered with coconut trees slid down, burying several houses.

After the accident, only roofs protruded from the mud.

Seven people lost their lives.

Landslides hit 10 villages around Baybay City, city spokeswoman Marissa Miguel Cano said.

In the village of Kantagnos, which was hit by two landslides, rescue workers searched for missing people.

With 210 households affected, "a lot of people" are being searched for, said Baybay City Mayor Jose Carlos Cari.

In addition to the police, fire brigade and coast guard, the military was also involved in the rescue work.

The Philippines are regularly hit by natural disasters.

An average of 20 storms sweep across the island nation each year.

The strongest typhoon to date, Haiyan, in 2013 left 7,300 dead or missing.