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Landslide in the Philippines: At least 11 dead, according to a new tally

Landslide in the Philippines: At least 11 dead, according to a new tally

Rescue workers dug with their bare hands and shovels through the mud Thursday searching for survivors of a landslide that killed 11 people in the Philippines, officials said.

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Two days after a rain-triggered landslide struck the gold mining village of Masara, south of the island of Mindanao, rescuers were racing against time and the weather.

According to the latest report issued by municipal authorities, 31 people were injured and 110 are still missing in this landslide that destroyed homes and swallowed three buses and a jeep on Tuesday evening.

The destroyed vehicles were supposed to transport workers from a nearby gold mine.

“Everyone hopes they are alive,” Edward Makabele, head of the Davao de Oro province disaster management agency, told AFP.

He added: “Our rescue team is in a hurry because every second counts.”

The landslide left a deep brown gash at the bottom of the mountain.

Makabele said rescuers pulled one person alive from the mud 11 hours after the landslide occurred.

Police officers, soldiers and rescue workers from Davao de Oro and neighboring Davao del Norte province were deployed to Masara to assist in the search operation.

“The ground that covered the buses was very thick, and could almost cover a two-story building,” the official explained.

Landslides are common throughout much of the archipelago due to the mountainous terrain, heavy rains, and widespread deforestation due to mining, slash-and-burn agriculture, and illegal logging.

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“Since 2007, the area has been exposed to landslides… but the residents' livelihoods exist,” Macau Mayor Arthur Carlos Remando told AFP.

Rain has been falling on parts of Mindanao for weeks, causing dozens of landslides and floods that have forced tens of thousands of people to take refuge in emergency shelters.

Science and Technology Minister Renato Solidum said on Wednesday that earthquakes had also destabilized the region in recent months.

Hundreds of families from Masara and four neighboring villages were forced to evacuate their homes and schools in the town, where studies were suspended.

The meteorological services warned that floods and landslides caused by rain may hit the province in the coming days.