Desperate Search for Survivors in Philippines Landslide

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MANILA, Philippines: Rescuers in the Philippines are tirelessly digging through mud with their bare hands and shovels in a race against time and the elements. The devastating landslide, triggered by heavy rainfall, struck the mountainous gold-mining village of Masara on southern Mindanao island. The number of missing individuals has nearly doubled to 90, while at least seven people have been confirmed dead and 31 injured.

The disaster agency official, Edward Macapili of Davao de Oro province, shared that the hope of finding survivors is driving the rescue team’s urgency. Every second counts when it comes to human life. The search and retrieval operation has been reinforced with the deployment of police, soldiers, and rescuers from Davao de Oro and the adjacent Davao del Norte province.

Rescuers are facing significant challenges in their efforts. While heavy earth-moving equipment is being used in some areas, they must rely on their bare hands and shovels in locations where they believe bodies may be buried. The soil that covered the buses and other structures is incredibly thick, almost the equivalent of a two-story building.

This tragic event is a stark reminder of the frequent hazards faced by the Philippines due to its mountainous terrain, heavy rainfall, and widespread deforestation. Landslides are not uncommon in the archipelago nation, often caused by mining, slash-and-burn farming, and illegal logging. The recent earthquakes in the region have further destabilized the area.

For weeks, Mindanao has been pounded by relentless rain, triggering numerous landslides and flooding. Tens of thousands of people have been forced into emergency shelters. In the face of this ongoing crisis, hundreds of families from Masara and neighboring villages have been evacuated from their homes and are seeking refuge in emergency centers to mitigate the risk of further landslides.

Looking ahead, the state weather forecaster has issued warnings of potential flash floods and landslides caused by moderate to heavy rain in the province in the coming days. This forecast adds to the concerns of the rescue operation, as heavy rains could hamper their efforts to locate survivors and recover bodies.

The international community stands in solidarity with the Philippines during this difficult time. The resilience and determination of the rescue teams, who are working tirelessly to find survivors, is commendable. Our thoughts and prayers are with the affected individuals and their families as they navigate through this tragedy.

Source: The Manila Times

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