THE death toll from a rain-induced landslide in Naga City in Cebu early Thursday morning rose to 29 yesterday as police, military and civilian rescuers continued digging for more people believed buried alive in the area.
Police Regional Office 7 director Chief Superintendent Debold M. Sinas said continuous heavy rains triggered the landslide which buried at least 24 houses in Sitio Sindulan in Barangay Tinaan and nearby Bgy. Naalad in Naga City.
The official said that the rescue operation is being conducted by personnel from the Bureau of Fire Protection, Philippine Coast Guard, Philippine Army, the local police and the Office of Civil Defense.
He added that all civilian rescue volunteers were also advised to proceed to the local evacuation area and wait for instructions from officials in order to decongest the danger zone.
“We have also conducted a forced evacuation of all civilians in the affected areas at 6 p.m. Thursday and are undertaking the diggings very carefully since the soil in the area is still loose and unstable due to continuous rains, in short the soil is unstable and might cause more landslide,” Sinas said.
The official identified the fatalities as Althea Siton,4; Olivia Moral, 63; Ananabel Lobiano, 40; Romeo Jabonilia, 40; Francisco Yopac,60; Michael Versales, 16; Mark Laurence Campanilla, 3; Vianca Versales, 19; Raul Gepuit, 47; Laura Capoy, 52; one Baby Girl Campanilla; another Baby Girl Campanilla; Nina Siton; Crystal Jean Siton; Lauro Campanilla; Juanito Siton, 42; Emeliana Siton,85; Jocelyn Siton,11; Aracelle Lobiano,49; Jemuel Campanilla, 12; and Jazwel Campanilla,32
The rest of the fatalities remained unidentified as of press time.
At least nine residents have been rescued from the site and were undergoing treatment in a local hospital. They were identified as Rose Ann Lobiano, 40; Christopher Semillar, 44; Nestor Capoy, 52; Junalyn Siton, 16; Jocelyn Siton, 38; Basilla Omambac, 58; Sidney Ravanes, 35; Babyjane Ravanes, 8; and Nestor Dejillas, age unknown.
Sinas said that a total of 427 families composed of 1,279 individuals were evacuated to three evacuation centers in the area, namely, the Enan Chiong Activity Center, the Apo Cement Gym and the Naalad National High School.
The official also said that according to the local Mines and Geosciences Bureau, the Pangdan River in the area was partially blocked by the landslide prompting officials to order the construction of a temporary waterway.
Sinas said that 400 of the 427 families were forcibly evacuated from their residents in Barangays Cabugasan, Mainit, Tinaan, Maalan and Pangdan due to the danger posed by another landslide.
Around 270 government troops, 100 of them policemen, have been sent to the danger zone to guard against the return of the affected residents, said Sinas in a report to Philippine National Police chief, Director General Oscar D. Albayalde.