At least 21 people are confirmed dead and more than 50 remain buried alive after a landslide in Naga City, Cebu.
The landslide today (Thursday, September 20) buried about 60 houses, sending rescuers scrambling to find survivors after some sent text messages pleading for help.
Among those who perished were a father and son, whose bodies were in an embrace when found.
The search and rescue efforts are also facing challenges due to limited access to heavy equipment in the affected area and the continuing rainfall that could soften the soil further.
Jules Regner, Cebu Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office executive assistant, said the search, rescue and retrieval operation was ongoing.
He said the landslide occurred at 5.45am in Sitio Sindulan, Barangay Tina-an.
It displaced 287 families and 785 individuals, who were evacuated from the scene.
Mr Regner added that more than 20 disaster teams from various local government units, the Bureau of Fire Protection, Army, police and private organisations have responded.
The Mines and Geosciences Bureau in Central Visayas has deployed a team to investigate the landslide.
In a statement posted on their official website, the bureau stated that heavy rainfall on last night and this morning may have triggered for the land in Sitio Sindulan, Barangay Tinaan to loosen.
“The area is underlain by limestone rocks and cracks and fissures are common in the area,” the bureau added.
The landslide came just five days after the catastrophe in the Cordillera town of Ompong, when dozens of miners sheltering in a chapel and bunkhouse were inundated by tons of dirt and rocks. Rescue efforts are ongoing as the body count continues to climb.
As of today, the official number of people killed across the Philippines as a result of Typhoon Ompong has risen to 88. At the same time, more than 60 people are registered as missing.
SEPTEMBER 21 UPDATE: The death toll has now risen to 29.
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