Landslide strikes buses and homes in southern Philippines, leaving 27 miners missing

Torrential rains that have swamped the region on and off in recent weeks have eased and the weather was clear in the previous three days

Updated - February 07, 2024 03:04 pm IST

Published - February 07, 2024 01:29 pm IST - MANILA

In this photo provided by the Philippine Red Cross, volunteers assists residents evacuate to safer grounds following a landslide at their village at Maco, Davao de Oro province, south Philippines on Wednesday Feb. 7, 2024.

In this photo provided by the Philippine Red Cross, volunteers assists residents evacuate to safer grounds following a landslide at their village at Maco, Davao de Oro province, south Philippines on Wednesday Feb. 7, 2024. | Photo Credit: AP

A search was underway on February 7 for 27 miners missing after a landslide struck buses and houses in a gold-mining village in the southern Philippines, officials said.

It’s not clear how many people may have been trapped in their homes when part of a mountainside cascaded down Masara village Tuesday night in the far-flung town of Maco in Davao de Oro province, provincial government spokesman Edward Macapili said, but 11 residents were injured.

Eight miners who were among those waiting on two parked buses that would have taken them home from work Tuesday night jumped out of the bus windows or dashed away and survived when the landslide struck. A third bus had already left, Mr. Macapili said.

Torrential rains that have swamped the region on and off in recent weeks have eased and the weather was clear in the previous three days, Mr. Macapili said.

“It happened so fast,” Mr. Macapili told The Associated Press by telephone. “They suddenly saw the landslide cascading directly toward them.”

The military earlier reported a higher number of missing and surviving miners, saying impassable roads and poor communication lines were hampering efforts to get more specific details from the village.

Three seriously injured victims would be evacuated by helicopter, regional military spokesperson Col. Rosa Rosete-Manuel told AP by telephone.

Army troops, police and villagers resumed a search for the missing Wednesday after suspending it late Tuesday due to the darkness and fears of more landslides, officials said.

About 600 villagers living near the landslide-hit area have been evacuated to safer communities. “There are reports of unaccounted individuals believed to be affected by the landslide,” Ms. Rosete-Manuel said without elaborating.

Earthquakes in recent months had damaged buildings in the southeastern region, and more than a dozen villagers have died in recent weeks from flooding and landslides, according to disaster-response officials.

A landslide buried a house and killed 10 people last month in Monkayo town, also in Davao de Oro province, officials said.

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