12 Feb 2024, 17:26

Philippine landslide death toll rises to 68

MANILA, Feb 12, 2024 (BSS/AFP) - The death toll from a landslide that hit a 
gold-mining village in the southern Philippines rose to 68 on Monday, 
officials said, as searchers abandoned hope of finding any more survivors.

Hundreds of rescuers have used their bare hands, shovels and heavy earth-
moving equipment for nearly a week looking for those buried when last 
Tuesday's landslide hit the mountainous Masara village on Mindanao island.

More than a dozen bodies were pulled from the mud on Monday, with 51 people 
still missing, including mine workers and villagers, according to official 
figures released by the municipal government.

"It is almost a week after the incident and... we are assuming that no one is 
alive there," Edward Macapili, spokesman for the Davao de Oro provincial 
disaster office, told AFP.

"There is already a foul smell in the area now so there's a need to fast-
track the retrieval."

An area around 50 metres (164 feet) deep remains to be searched, Macapili 

A three-year-old girl was pulled alive from under the rubble on Friday, in 
what rescuers described as a "miracle".

The landslide buried three buses and a jeepney waiting for employees of a 
gold mining firm and 55 nearby houses, leaving 32 other people injured.

Authorities have vowed to continue the search until all those missing are 

Landslides are a frequent hazard across much of the archipelago nation due to 
the mountainous terrain, heavy rainfall and widespread deforestation from 
mining, slash-and-burn farming and illegal logging.

Rain has pounded parts of Mindanao on and off for weeks, triggering dozens of 
landslides and floods that have forced tens of thousands of people into 
emergency shelters.

Massive earthquakes have also destabilised the region in recent months.

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