Philippines: At least 29 dead in Cebu landslide

Rescuers search for landslide survivors in Naga City on the popular tourist island of Cebu

Rescuers search for landslide survivors in Naga City on the popular tourist island of Cebu

This latest disaster took place in the Naga district on the central island of Cebu, The landslide affected a whole section of a hillside, engulfing houses in three villages.

At least 64 people remained missing, Naga city Mayor Kristine Vanessa Chiong said.

"We're really hoping we can still recover them alive". Some who were trapped in the sludge managed to send text messages pleading for help, but the messages stopped within a few hours.

Dennis Pansoy, a 41-year-old shipyard worker, had left his wife, two sons and two other relatives in the family home for less than an hour on his way to work when the landslide buried his neighborhood.

The rescue effort came as the nation was still reeling from Typhoon "Ompong", whose toll hit 95 dead on Thursday, mostly from a massive landslide in the country's mountainous north. Rescuers on Cebu have pulled 29 corpses from the debris, the Philippine National Police said, as people living in homes spared from the landslide were evacuated as a precaution.

"They are covered in shallow earth, we need a backhoe", resident Nimrod Parba, who had 13 relatives entombed by the landslide, was quoted as saying.

Cebu province was not directly hit by Mangkhut but the massive typhoon intensified monsoon rains across a large part of the archipelago, including the central region where Naga city lies about 355 miles southeast of Manila.

Numerous deaths occurred in Itogon, in northern Benguet province, where the world's strongest storm of the year set off a major landslide that hit a bunkhouse where people were taking shelter from the typhoon.

Rescuers were treading carefully in small groups on the unstable ground to avoid further casualties.

"It was like an quake and there was this thundering, loud banging sound", resident Cristita Villarba told news agency AP. "All of us ran out", she said.

"We're running out of time".

"Many of our neighbours were crying and screaming for help. We're striking a balance between intensifying our rescue efforts and ensuring the safety of our rescuers", Naga city Coun.

A spokesman for the Naga city government said numerous rescuers were digging manually because it is unsafe to use heavy equipment. The ground in the area is still vibrating.

It's not clear what set off the landslide, but some residents blamed limestone quarries, which they suspect may have caused cracks in the mountainside facing their villages. Authorities are not sure whether the limestone quarry near the slide-hit area contributed to the disaster, but they have ordered a temporary 15-day halt to quarry operations around the country as a precaution.

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