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Philippines Struck by Another Deadly Landslide, Days After Typhoon

MANILA — A landslide struck a village in the central Philippines on Thursday, burying up to 25 homes and killing at least 12 people. Officials said heavy rains in the days since Typhoon Mangkhut hit the country had contributed to the disaster.

People living at the village in Naga, a small city in Cebu Province, had evacuated before the powerful typhoon arrived on Saturday. But they returned home after the storm largely spared Cebu and other central islands, Superintendent Samuel Tadeo of the Philippine Bureau of Fire Protection said.

Heavy rains over the past two days apparently saturated the soil of a slope above the cluster of houses, causing it to give way, Mr. Tadeo told a Manila radio station, DZBB. “It has been raining heavily here,” he said. “More than 20 to 25 houses have been buried.”

Rescue teams were trying to reach potential victims, but the work was “very dangerous,” Mr. Tadeo said. “We have requested heavy equipment like a backhoe, so we can penetrate further,” he said.

By early evening, eight survivors had been rescued, but dozens of people were believed to be missing, said Garry Cabotaje, a local official.

A regional newspaper, SunStar Cebu, posted images on Twitter of rescuers pulling a man from rubble and recovered bodies wrapped in cloth, laid on church pews.

Naga’s police chief, Roderick Gonzales, said local officials had warned everyone to prepare for Typhoon Mangkhut but that “their lives went back to normal” after the storm passed.

“They did not expect the landslide to happen,” he said of the residents. Evacuation orders were issued Thursday for dozens of other villages near the site of the landslide.

Mr. Cabotaje said the disaster occurred on land owned by a quarrying company, and that some of its employees were among the dead. Attempts to contact the company, Apo Land and Quarry, were unsuccessful, but news reports quoted a spokesman as saying that quarrying operations at the site had not yet begun.

Recovery efforts also continued Thursday at the site of another deadly landslide, in the town of Itogon on Luzon Island, where up to 60 people who had sought shelter from Typhoon Mangkhut are thought to have been buried in a church and in a bunkhouse for miners.

As of late Wednesday, the typhoon was known to have killed 66 people in the Cordillera region of Luzon, which includes Itogon, and 15 people elsewhere, including Manila, the capital, according to the Philippine National Police. The toll was certain to rise.

In the days since the Itogon disaster, President Rodrigo Duterte’s government has said it was considering tougher regulations on mining, which is believed to contribute to landslides by destabilizing slopes in mountainous areas.

Mr. Duterte said on Tuesday that mining companies were “operating in this country uncontrolled” and ordered officials to “take a second look” at mining concessions across the mineral-rich Philippines.

Source: NYT > World

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