Landslide fatalities now 92; 36 still missing

Michael Punongbayan - The Philippine Star
Landslide fatalities now 92; 36 still missing
An inter-faith prayer is held at ground zero of a landslide in Barangay Masara in Maco, Davao de Oro on February 16, 2024.
Photo posted on the official Facebook page of the 25th Infantry Battalion.

MANILA, Philippines — The death toll from the landslide in Barangay Masara in Maco, Davao de Oro has ballooned to 92 while 36 others remain missing.

With help from rescue dogs, six more bodies were recovered on Thursday.

Britney, Ivy and Tiffa of the Philippine Coast Guard’s search and rescue team helped mark six locations where the bodies were retrieved, according to a report from the PCG’s Southeastern Mindanao district.

The PCG commended the rescue dogs for their “invaluable role of human-canine partnerships in times of crisis.”

The municipal disaster risk reduction and management office said search and rescue operations by joint teams from the provincial and municipal ngovernments as well as military units are ongoing.

The recovered bodies that remained unidentified have been placed in temporary graves for health and sanitation reasons.

The landslide, which occurred on Feb. 6, buried several homes and two buses that were supposed to transport workers to their homes.

As of Thursday, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said 15,400 family food packs from the Department of Social Welfare and Development had been transported to affected areas by two US aircraft.

“We are deeply thankful for the support rendered by the US in our relief operations. Their assistance truly helped aid the affected communities in Mindanao,” AFP chief Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. said.

He stressed the importance of prepositioning equipment, supplies and relief goods in Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) sites.

“Through EDCA... the prepositioned US assets will allow us to respond quickly and more efficiently in the future,” Brawner said. ”Together with our ally and fellow Filipinos, we will strive to ensure that no one is left behind in our journey toward recovery and resilience.”

Meanwhile, the Davao city government started sending assistance yesterday to 15 areas placed under a state of calamity due to massive flooding.

The Sangguniang Panlungsod has approved an allocation of P6.1 million from the city government’s quick response to provide assistance to affected residents in Davao del Norte, Davao Oriental and Davao de Oro. — Diana Lhyd Suelto, Ghio Ong

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