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Fatal landslide in Philippines: 5 dead, 31 injured.

Image credit-Gulf News

In the southern Philippines, a devastating rain-induced landslide unfolded, resulting in the tragic loss of at least five lives and injuries to 31 individuals, according to official reports on Wednesday. The incident occurred in a mountainous region of Davao de Oro province on Mindanao island when a landslide struck a mining village on Tuesday night.

The landslide specifically affected two buses that were used to transport mine workers in Masara village. Tragically, at least 20 people were trapped inside the buses when the mudslide occurred. Although 28 individuals were on board, eight managed to escape through windows before the buses were engulfed by the mud, as disclosed by provincial disaster official Edward Macapili.

The buses were situated outside a gold mine operated by Apex Mining, a Philippine company. However, it remains unclear whether the bodies retrieved from the mud were passengers on the buses. The search and rescue operation faced challenges, including limited visibility and intermittent slides. The hazardous conditions prompted a temporary halt to the efforts at midnight but resumed with daylight.

The aftermath revealed the grim toll, with five confirmed casualties and 31 villagers sustaining injuries. Two critically injured individuals were airlifted to a hospital in Davao city for urgent treatment. Macapili noted that an earthquake shook the village shortly after the landslide, further complicating the rescue mission.

In response to the disaster, 285 families from Masara and nearby villages were forced to evacuate their homes. Military personnel were deployed to aid in rescue efforts, yet the challenging terrain and lack of cellphone signal in the area added to the difficulties.

The tragedy unfolded amid persistent heavy rainfall in the region, which had forced tens of thousands into emergency shelters in preceding weeks. Last week alone, the national disaster agency reported 18 casualties due to landslides and flooding in Mindanao.

Landslides are a recurrent hazard in the Philippines due to factors such as mountainous terrain, heavy rainfall, and widespread deforestation. The country faces heightened vulnerability to such natural disasters, with climate change contributing to the intensification of weather events, making storms more powerful and destructive.

Feb. 7, 2024 4:49 p.m. 1797

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