Six people were killed and dozens are missing after a landslide unleashed by monsoon rains struck in the central Philippines Thursday, inflicting more misery on the already storm-battered nation.
The new tragedy comes just days after 2018’s most powerful storm, Typhoon Mangkhut, pounded the nation’s north with heavy winds and rain, sparking a separate landslide that left dozens dead.
Emergency workers in helmets and locals with shovels rushed to search for survivors of the new disaster, which happened in the village of Tina-an on the popular tourist island of Cebu.
Days of heavy monsoon rains caused a steep slope of crumbly limestone to collapse and crash into at least 10 homes early Thursday when many people would still have been in bed.
Injured survivors were wheeled into the back of ambulances and the dead were laid on pews at a local church.
“There are 64 missing. Six are confirmed dead. Nine were injured… these are minor injuries,” civil defence spokesman Julius Regner told AFP.
“There are more than 100 rescuers on the site. They are using backhoes (excavators) and other heavy equipment,” he added.
Civil defence officials in the region said landslides are fairly rare on Cebu, an elongated island with low hills.
As Thursday’s search for survivors unfolded, efforts continued in the hunt for bodies in the mining area of Itogon in the mountainous north of the Philippines, which was the area worst hit by the typhoon.
Most of those killed in the storm died in landslides in the Cordillera range, which includes Itogon and other towns in a region known for gold mining.
Police said on Thursday that the death toll rose to 88, primarily due to corpses recovered from the Itogon slide.
Mangkhut swamped fields in the nation’s agricultural north and smashed houses when it tore through at the weekend.
Itogon is one of the country’s oldest mining hubs, with known gold panning activity stretching back to before the 17th-century Spanish colonial conquest.
Thousands of people from all over the country still flock to the upland town seeking their fortune in largely unregulated mining, which is accompanied by periodic deadly accidents.