Manila: Rescue workers are not losing hope that some of the victims in the landslide in Central Philippines’ Naga City in Cebu, are still alive days after the incident.
A massive landslide buried portions of the mountainside villages of Tinaan and Nalaad on Thursday as the ground near the cement quarry site collapsed.
The remains of some 41 people have already been recovered, a radio report by dzBB on Sunday said but 32 others remain missing.
The head of the Naga City police, chief inspector Roderick Gonzales, was quoted in another report by the Remate newspaper that there were indications of possible life underneath the debris.
“Some of them managed to send text messages,” the report quoted him as saying
Experts are now using modern equipment such as thermal scanners, ground penetrating radar and heartbeat sensors to find signs of life underneath the rubble while at the same time carefully moving through the soft soil to get to the victims.
Earlier, rescue workers had been warned of another possible ground collapse as more people congregate in the landslide area in search of survivors.
According to Naga City Mayor Vanessa Chong some 275 families living near the site of the landslide had been moved to safer areas. More than 20 households had been affected by the incident.
On Saturday, the rescuers were joint in by 14 personnel of the Disaster Response and Rescue Team (DRRT) of the Philippine Navy. Additionally, a communications team was also dispatched to support the operation.
On Friday, President Rodrigo Duterte checked the conditions of the landslide victims at the Enan Chiong Activity Centre, which serves as a shelter to families in Sitio Sindulan, Tinaan village who fled their homes in the wake of the incident.
“I was saddened by what happened. The crisis that you are now going through is not easy. It is excruciating because many people were affected and many had died,” Duterte said.
The President then asked the local government to provide the evacuees a proper relocation as they can no longer head back to their previous homes because of the location’s potential danger to their lives.
“Mayor said that the governor is ready to help and said it’s OK for you to transfer there. So now it has spread. What will we do with that piece of land? Just sit on the ground? So, we need houses,” he said.