Scores Missing in Philippines Mudslide

Hundreds of villagers in the central Philippines are missing and feared dead after heavy rains triggered a massive mudslide.

Scores Missing in Philippines Mudslide
Richard Gordon, the head of the Philippine Red Cross, said the torrent of mud and rocks swept through the village of Guinsaugon near the town of Saint Bernard on Leyte Island on Friday morning.

An elementary school, believed to have been packed with children at the time, was completely buried in the mudslide.

Local officials said the exact number of casualties was unclear with hundreds reported missing.

Roger Mercado, a local politician, said that as many as 2000 people might have died; but the office of civil defence said that figure could refer to those listed as missing.

"You can't find any standing structure," Mercado said, "it's very terrible."

The government has ordered aid
to rush to the area

A radio operator at the Emergency and Rescue Foundation, a private group, said there were unconfirmed reports that one area of Saint Bernard was 90% under mud, including a school.

Survivor Didita Kamarenta told local radio how the mud quickly swept through the area without warning. 

"I felt the earth shake and a strong gust of wind, then I felt mud at my feet," she said. "All the children, including my two children, are lost. They might have been buried."


Aid efforts


Ignacio Bunye, spokesman for President Gloria Arroyo, said rescue and relief teams were being sent to the scene, adding he hoped the private sector would contribute to the relief effort.



Villagers have been scrambling to
find the dead and injured

The military said it had dispatched helicopters to the area to survey the disaster and help with rescue efforts, while the Red Cross was planning to dispatch sniffer dogs to the area to attempt to find any survivors.

The Philippines is lashed by about 20 typhoons each year.



The worst disaster in recent times occurred in Leyte in 1991 when more than 5000 people died in floods triggered by a typhoon.



Sixteen people were killed earlier this week when heavy rains and flash floods hit southeastern provinces.



Environmental groups blame illegal logging for making the flooding worse.

 

Farmers and government agencies have been warned to prepare for heavy rains and flash floods from a stormy La Nina weather pattern that might hit the country.



La Nina features unusually cool surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean resulting in storm surges and strong winds.

 

Source: Agencies

Last Mod: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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