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The southern Philippines has experienced a landslide in the gold-mining village of Masara, Davao de Oro province, resulting in 54 confirmed deaths and 63 people still missing. Triggered by weeks of torrential rains, the disaster occurred Tuesday night, overwhelming the mountainous area.
According to the provincial government’s Facebook update, the death toll has increased from an initial count of 37, as rescue efforts continue to uncover more victims. Despite the rescue of 32 survivors who sustained injuries, the search for the missing, including gold miners who were buried while waiting in buses, faces challenges due to adverse weather conditions and the potential for additional landslides.
Edward Macapili, a local official, reported that over 300 individuals are participating in the rescue operations, which have been impeded by continuous heavy rainfall, thick mud, and the looming threat of more landslides. The efforts resumed Sunday morning, with Macapili acknowledging the diminishing likelihood of finding survivors but affirming the commitment to continue the search. “The rescue team is doing its best, even if it’s very difficult,” he said.
The landslide’s impact was significant, with debris covering an 8.9-hectare area of the Masara community after sliding more than 700 meters down a mountainside near the Apex Mining Co concession. Amidst the tragedy, a three-year-old girl’s rescue on Friday was hailed as a “miracle” by the rescue team. With ongoing risks, over 1,100 families have been relocated to evacuation centers.