Davao de Oro

Hope wanes on Day 3: Davao de Oro landslide list of missing exceeds 100

Dennis Jay Santos

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Hope wanes on Day 3: Davao de Oro landslide list of missing exceeds 100

DISASTER. The landslide in Masara, Maco in Davao de Oro, as seen during an aerial inspection on February 7, 2024.

Office of the Presidential Adviser for Eastern Mindanao

The number of people missing and feared buried in the mud, boulders, and rocks in Masara village surges from 49 to 110 as more families reach out to authorities to ask for help

DAVAO, Philippines – Rescue operations have shifted to search and retrieval work as hopes of finding more survivors faded three days after a landslide ravaged a mining village in Maco town, Davao de Oro.

The number of people missing and feared buried in the mud, boulders, and rocks in Masara village on Tuesday, February 6, has surged from 49 to 110 as more families reached out to authorities to ask for help. 

The death toll has also risen to 11 as search and retrieval workers unearthed more bodies on Thursday, February 8. The number of injured people who were rescued at the site of the landslide remained at 31.

People, Person, Crowd
WAIT FOR AID. Evacuees wait for relief aid at a government facility in Maco town in Davao de Oro. courtesy of the Provincial Government of Davao de Oro

The Maco town government also saw more people fleeing their homes from landslide-prone communities. The number of evacuees rose from 758 to 1,116 families as of Thursday afternoon.

“It’s been over two days now, and we have come to terms with the possibility that they may have been buried in the pile of boulders and mud, deprived of oxygen,” Edward Macapili, spokesperson for Davao de Oro’s disaster risk reduction management office, told Rappler on Friday morning, February 9.

He said the operations at the Masara landslide area have shifted to search and retrieval of bodies.

Macapili said more families have come forward to report their missing relatives.

Most of those feared buried in the landslide are workers of Apex Mining Corporation, who were preparing to head home on board three 60-seat buses and a 30-person capacity jeepney.

Box, Adult, Male
RELIEF WORK. Relief aid workers bring relief goods for distribution to evacuees in Maco, Davao de Oro. courtesy of the Provincial Government of Davao de Oro

In a statement released on Thursday, Apex Mining said the company was still trying to locate 45 workers. As of Wednesday, February 7, the firm has been able to account for its 62 workers who survived the tragedy.

The company also claimed that the site of the landslide “is outside the mine operations area” of the firm, and that the area merely served as a terminal for vehicles dispatched for its workers.

“Apex Mining is on limited operations because it is focusing on fully supporting the rescue operations by the provincial government,” part of the statement read. – Rappler.com

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