NAGA CITY, Philippines — More than 24 hours after a landslide in the Philippines, rescuers are still searching for dozens of people missing, feared buried, under debris up to 15 meters deep.
The landslide followed several days of heavy rain in Naga city, Cebu province, a popular island destination, though the landslide occurred some way south of tourist beaches.
By Friday morning, 21 bodies had been pulled from the rubble, which is thought to have covered up to 60 homes, across an area the size of about 10 football pitches, CNN Philippines reported.
Details of all the dead have not emerged but they include a four-year-old child and an elderly woman, bureau of fire protection rescue chief Samuel Tadeo said.
On Thursday rescuers said families had received text messages from loves ones feared buried in the mud, raising hopes that they were sheltering in air pockets in the debris.
The city didn’t take a direct hit from Super Typhoon Mangkhut that made landfall in the country last weekend, but the storm system — the world’s biggest this year — dumped heavy rain on the city, causing the landslide.
Local media SunStar Cebu posted images on its social media account showing rescuers pulling people from the rubble on stretchers.
Philippines Red Cross CEO Richard Gordon posted on Twitter that the organization had responded to the deadly collapse in the early hours of Thursday.
Another deadly landslide
The incident comes just days after another deadly landslide in the mining town of Itogon, in the Cordillera region in the north of Luzon, killed at least 27 people.
The rockfall destroyed hundreds of homes and buried dozens of people, mostly miners who worked in small-scale mines and their families.
That landslide, on Saturday, was triggered by heavy rains brought by Typhoon Mangkhut — known locally as Ompong.
Mangkhut, the strongest storm of 2018, left 63 people dead, 42 injured and dozens missing as it cut a destructive streak across Luzon, the most populous island in the Philippines.
While emergency signals were raised ahead of the storm’s approach, locals said they were shocked by the degree of the devastation.
“This is the first time I’ve seen this kind of landslide. It’s massive and almost everyone is affected. Even the miners are helping the rescuers, the police — everyone is giving their best,” one rescuer said.