Landslide buries dozens as Philippines grapples with typhoon's aftermath

Red Cross Cebu Chapter Red Cross volunteers treat a victim after she was pulled out of her house that was struck by a landslide in Naga city Cebu province central Philippines on Thursday Sept. 20 2018. A Ph

The Cebu landslide took out a whole section of hillside on which people had built their makeshift homes.

Kristine Vanessa Chiong, mayor of Naga city, which has a population of over 100,000, said by telephone that at least 64 people remained missing. "Some of them managed to send text messages", he said, raising hopes that they are trapped in air pockets in the debris.

"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.

At least 29 people have died following a landslide near a limestone quarry in the Philippines, with dozens more feared trapped under the rubble.

The crowd cheered as the woman called for the quarry to be stopped.

While the Cebu region was not directly hit by the destructive typhoon, which swept through the Philippines last weekend, flattening houses and killing 88 people, it had led to an increase in monsoon rains, which may have loosened the mountainside in Naga, an area not usually known for landslides.

Earlier this week, a mining town in Benguet province was also hit by landslides which led to the death of at least 32 people.

Cebu province was not directly hit by Mangkhut, but the massive typhoon helped intensify monsoon rains across a large part of the archipelago, including the central region, where Naga city lies about 570 kilometres southeast of Manila.

"It was like an natural disaster and there was this thundering, loud banging sound", resident Cristita Villarba told news agency AP.

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"Ang akong gipangayo i-stop sa Apo Cement ang quarry dinhi sa Naga", the Naga citizen said when she went onstage after the President asked if anyone had anything to say.

"We're striking a balance between intensifying our rescue efforts and ensuring the safety of our rescuers", Naga city Councillor Carmelino Cruz said.

She, her husband and three children were shocked but unhurt - but outside, she saw the house of her older brother, Lauro, and his family buried in the landslide.

"Many of our neighbours were crying and screaming for help".

"All of us ran out", she said, adding that her husband and children all survived the disaster.

The President also assured that those living in close proximity to ground zero will be relocated to safer areas.

Since Thursday, Pansoy has been standing by the mound of more than 20 metres (65 feet) of earth and rocks covering his house and watching rescuers dig slowly with shovels.

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.

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