A cholera outbreak in a remote southern Philippine township has killed 18 people and sickened at least 50 others, the mayor said Wednesday. Most of the victims of the outbreak in two mountainous hamlets near Palimbang town in Sultan Kudarat province were children, said Mayor Samrud Mamansual. The area is about 600 miles south of Manila. Mamansual blamed poor water supplies and inadequate sanitation. ABS-CBN television reported late Tuesday that members of the Philippine Red Cross rushed to the two villages with medicines and were testing local water supplies for contamination. The first victims started complaining of diarrhea last week, the report said, adding the villages are so remote residents had to walk several miles down the mountain to reach the nearest health center. A similar outbreak in the neighboring village of Ligaw three months ago killed eight people and sickened 60 others. Cholera outbreaks are not uncommon in the Philippines, especially during the rainy season. Cholera is a severe gastrointestinal disease often caused by consuming water or food contaminated with fecal matter.