New Delhi: A gold-mining village in the southern Philippines was hit by a landslide as the death count rose to 68 on Monday, news agency AFP reported officials as saying while stating that rescue teams are losing hope of finding any more survivors. The landslide, which struck the mountainous terrain of Mindanao island last Tuesday, has claimed the lives of 68 individuals, with 51 more still missing, including mine workers and villagers, according to official figures released by the municipal government, AFP’s report mentioned.
Hundreds of rescuers have used their bare hands, shovels, and heavy earth-moving equipment for nearly a week to find people, the scale of the disaster remains staggering, with more than a dozen bodies recovered on Monday alone, as per the report. “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.
He further added, “There is already a foul smell in the area now so there’s a need to fast-track the retrieval”, he remarked. An area around 50 metres (164 feet) deep is yet to to be searched, Macapili added.
The remarkable rescue of a three-year-old girl from beneath the rubble on Friday, was described as a “miracle” by rescuers, as per AFP.
The landslide, which buried three buses and a jeepney, has left 32 individuals injured and destroyed 55 nearby homes. Authorities have committed to continue the search until all those missing are recovered.
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Landslides Threat To Archipelago Nation
Landslides are an ever-present threat in the Philippines, exacerbated by the region’s rugged terrain, heavy rainfall, rampant deforestation, slash-and-burn farming, and illegal logging, reports AFP.
Notably, 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.