At least 6 people were killed and 31 injured when a rain-induced landslide engulfed two buses and houses in a mountainous area in Davao De Oro, the local disaster office said Wednesday.
Rescuers were still searching for 46 people who remained missing due to the landslide in Maco town as of 2 p.m., the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office said.
The landslide struck Tuesday night in Barangay Masara, a mining village.
At least 28 people were on board the buses when the landslide hit, but eight managed to escape unhurt through the windows before the mud engulfed them, provincial disaster official Edward Macapili told AFP.
The buses had been outside a gold mine operated by the Philippine company Apex Mining in Masara village where buses drop off and pick up workers.
Another 31 villagers were also injured. Two of them were seriously hurt and were airlifted to a hospital in Davao city for treatment, Macapili said.
“There was no sign that a landslide would occur because the rains stopped on Thursday and by Friday it was already sunny and hot,” Macapili said.
Macapili said an earthquake shook the village shortly after the landslide. The search effort was halted at midnight because it was too hazardous to continue, but resumed at daylight, he said.
“Rescue work is hampered by limited visibility and intermittent slides,” Apex Mining said in a statement on its website.
Meanwhile, 285 families from Masara and four nearby villages were forced to evacuate from their homes, Macapili said.
Military personnel have been deployed to help in the rescue efforts.
“The roads remain impassable, and there is no cellphone signal in the area,” the military’s Eastern Mindanao Command said on Facebook Wednesday.
Rain has pounded parts of Mindanao off and on for weeks, forcing tens of thousands into emergency shelters.
At least 18 people died from landslides and flooding in the region last week, the national disaster agency said in its latest update.
Landslides are frequent hazards across much of the archipelago nation owing to the mountainous terrain, heavy rainfall and widespread deforestation.
The Philippines is regularly ravaged by storms, with scientists warning they are becoming more powerful as the world gets warmer because of climate change.
— With reports from Cecil Morella, Agence France-Presse; Bianca Dava, ABS-CBN News; and Hernel Tocmo