Davao Oriental

300 trapped miners in Mati City rescued

Ferdinand Zuasola

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300 trapped miners in Mati City rescued

David Castuciano / Rappler

'All the trapped mining workers are now safe,' says OCD Davao Region chief Ednar Dayanghirang

DAVAO ORIENTAL, Philippines – The 300 miners who had been trapped in their workplace in a remote village in Mati City have been rescued by a team of soldiers and locals, the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) in Davao Region said on Saturday, January 20.

OCD Davao Region chief Ednar Dayanghirang said the trapped workers of Hallmark Mining Company were rescued on Friday afternoon, January 19.

They were trapped in their work place after heavy rains trigged landslides and flash floods in Barangay Macambol, Mati City.

“All the trapped mining workers are now safe. They trekked long hours and crossed heavily flooded river systems. Fortunately, there is no casualty,” Dayanghirang, who flew to the mining site via Air Force chopper, told Rappler in a phone interview on Saturday, January 20.

Jude Corpuz of Mati City’s Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office told Rappler on Friday that the rescue operation had been stalled because of heavy rains, strong winds and flash floods.

To clear the roads for the rescue operation, the city government had to deploy several heavy equipment to the densely forested area, Corpz said.

Dayanghirang said that flood waters started to subside on Saturday.

“I personally saw the devastation through aerial inspection with the provincial governors of the Davao Region. Right now, there are still many people in evacuation centers as they could no longer go back to their seriously damaged houses especially those living in villages badly hit by landslides and flash floods,” Dayanghirang said.

He said local government officials have started assessing the extent of the damage caused by the landslides and flash floods on Saturday, as the weather started to improve.

The Davao Oriental provincial government said in a statement that major roads and several bridges in the towns of Cateel, Caraga, Lupon, Manay, San Isidro, and Tarragona; and Mati City remained impassable due to landslide and flash flood damage. Several villages, mostly in the hinterlands, have been isolated since Thursday.

Davao Oriental Governor Nino Sotero Uy, who accompanied the rescuers, had to ride a boat from the provincial capital, Mati City, to his hometown, Tarragona, on Friday to reach out to the isolated villages.

In the regional capital, Davao City, two people were buried alive in a landslide in Buhangin and Marilog districts.

“We still don’t have an exact figure on the number of casualties as local government officials continue to collect data on the extent of the damage,” said Dayanghirang. – Rappler.com

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