New land­slide kills 15, buries houses in cen­tral Philip­pines

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - Asean Focus -

A MAS­SIVE land­slide buried dozens of homes near a cen­tral Philip­pine moun­tain Thurs­day, killing at least 15 peo­ple and send­ing res­cuers scram­bling to find sur­vivors af­ter some sent text mes­sages plead­ing for help.

The slide surged down on about 30 houses in two ru­ral vil­lages af­ter day­break in Naga city in Cebu prov­ince, Rod­er­ick Gon­za­les, the city po­lice chief, told The As­so­ci­ated Press by tele­phone as he helped su­per­vise the search and res­cue. Seven in­jured vil­lagers were res­cued from the huge mound of earth and de­bris.

Some vic­tims still man­aged to send text mes­sages af­ter the land­slide hit, Gon­za­les said, adding el­derly women and a child were among the dead. Naga city Mayor Kris­tine Vanessa Chiong said by tele­phone that at least 64 peo­ple re­mained miss­ing. “We’re re­ally hop­ing we can still re­cover them alive,” she said.

The land­slide hit while sev­eral north­ern Philip­pine prov­inces were still deal­ing with deaths and wide­spread dam­age wrought by Ty­phoon Mangkhut, which pum­melled the agri­cul­tural re­gion Satur­day and left at least 88 peo­ple dead and more than 60 miss­ing. A mas­sive search was still un­der­way for dozens of peo­ple feared dead af­ter land­slides in the gold-min­ing town of Ito­gon in the north.

Cebu prov­ince was not di­rectly hit by Mangkhut but the mas­sive ty­phoon helped in­ten­sify mon­soon rains across a large part of the ar­chi­pel­ago, in­clud­ing the cen­tral re­gion, where Naga city lies about 570 kilo­me­tres south­east of Manila.

Res­cuers there were tread­ing care­fully in small groups on the un­sta­ble ground to avoid more ca­su­al­ties.

“We’re run­ning out of time. The ground in the area is still vi­brat­ing. We’re strik­ing a bal­ance be­tween in­ten­si­fy­ing our res­cue ef­forts and en­sur­ing the safety of our res­cuers,” Naga city Coun­cilor Carmelino Cruz said by phone.

Cris­tita Vil­larba, a 53-year-old res­i­dent, told AP by phone that her hus­band and son were pre­par­ing to leave for work when the ground shook and they were over­whelmed by a roar.

“It was like an earth­quake and there was this thun­der­ing, loud bang­ing sound. All of us ran out,” Vil­larba said, adding she, her hus­band and three chil­dren were shocked but un­hurt.

Out­side, she saw the house of her el­derly brother, Lauro, and his fam­ily was buried in the land­slide.

“Many of our neigh­bours were cry­ing and scream­ing for help. Some wanted to help those who got hit but there was too much earth cov­er­ing the houses, in­clud­ing my brother’s,” she said.

More than a dozen peo­ple live in her brother’s home, mostly his fam­ily and grand­chil­dren, she said, adding that many small houses in her com­mu­nity got hit.

A few days ago, Vil­larba said she felt sorry for the land­slide vic­tims in the coun­try’s north. “I had no idea we will be the next,” she said. – As­so­ci­ated Press

Photo: AP

Res­cuers search houses for sur­vivors af­ter a land­slide struck a vil­lage in Naga city, Cebu prov­ince, Philip­pines, on Thurs­day.

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