Rescuers in the Philippines have been battling bad weather in their search for survivors of landslides that hit villages in the centre of the country, as the death toll from tropical storm Megi rose to 42.

Tens of thousands of people fled their homes as the storm hit the region in recent days, which resulted in houses being flooded, roads being damaged and power being knocked out.

Local authorities said at least 36 people had died and 26 were missing after landslides hit villages around the hardest hit Baybay City in Leyte province, while over 100 people were injured.

Three people were also killed in the central province of Negros Oriental and three were killed on the main southern island of Mindanao, according to the national disaster agency.

Most of the deaths in Leyte were in the mountainous village of Mailhi where 14 bodies were found after a so-called "mudflash" buried homes.

Drone footage showed a wide stretch of mud that had swept down a hill of coconut trees and engulfed Bunga where at least seven people had been killed and 20 villagers were missing in Bunga.

The military has joined coast guard, police and fire protection personnel in the search and rescue efforts, which have been hampered by bad weather.

Rescue efforts were also focused on the nearby village of Kantagnos, which an official said had been hit by two landslides.

Some other residents also fled in time or were pulled out of the mud alive, but four villagers have been confirmed dead and many are still feared trapped.

A Philippine Coast Guard video on Facebook showed six rescuers carrying a woman on a stretcher, while other victims were carried to safety.

"We're looking for many people, there are 210 households there," Baybay City Mayor Jose Carlos Cari said.

Climate change being blamed

"It's supposed to be the dry season but maybe climate change has upended that," said Marissa Miguel Cano, public information officer for Baybay City, where ten villages have been affected by landslides.

Ms Cano said that the hilly region of corn, rice and coconut farms was prone to landslides, but they were usually small and not fatal.

A woman being brought to safety in Leyte Province

A super typhoon named typhoon Rai in hit Baybay City in December, which killing more than 400 people and left hundreds of thousands homeless.

Scientists have long warned typhoons are strengthening more rapidly as the world becomes warmer due to climate change.

The Philippines is ranked among the most vulnerable nations to its impacts and is hit by an average of 20 storms every year, while storm Megi was the first storm to hit this year.

A state of calamity was declared in Baybay City, freeing up funds for relief efforts and giving local officials power to control prices.

National disaster agency spokesman Mark Timbal said landslides around Baybay City had reached settlements "outside the danger zone" and caught many residents by surprise.