No survivors found, death toll rises to 29 Rains continue to hamper rescue operations
Over thirty-six hours of search, rescue and recovery operations in the landslide area in Sitio Sindulan, Barangay Tinaan in Naga City have already yielded 29 dead bodies, saved 8 persons and left 41 individuals unaccounted.
On the second day of the operations, Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) Chief Baltazar Tribunalo said the rescue has gone harder and more risky.
“Baga kaayo ang yuta unya magsige og pat-ak ang ulan. Lapad pod kaayo ni nga landslide,” said Tribunalo.
(The pile of soil is very thick coupled with rainshowers has made it harder. The area covered by the landslide is so vast.)
The landslide extends to about 80 hectares of land covering Sitios Tagaytay and Sindulan in Barangay Tinaan and a portion of Barangay Naalad.
At 8 p.m. on Friday, rescue operations were again suspended because of rain.
Tribunalo however, said they are still hopeful to rescue survivors trapped under the eroded soil and debris.
On Friday, Tribunalo said that although they have seen less signs of life in the main landslide area, which is considered as ‘Ground Zero,’ they will still continue with the search, rescue and recovery operations until all residents in the area are accounted.
Jenessa has died
At past 2 p.m. yesterday, Jenessa Campanilla, the resident who asked for help through a Facebook message on Thursday, has been retrieved from their buried house along with her husband, Lemuel, 33, and children Jemwel (12) and Jazwel (8).
Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CCDRRMO) head Nagiel Bañacia said on his Facebook account that ground zero is beginning to stink and that rescuers now need N-95 face masks.
Senior Supt. Samuel Tadeo, head of the Bureau of Fire Protection in Central Visayas and one of the ground commanders of the ongoing search and rescue operations, said they continued to scour the area for survivors but failed to find any on Friday.
Naga City Mayor Kristine Vanessa Chiong assured the affected families of the government’s full support.
“This is a tragic event but it is the best time to unite,” Chiong told the Inquirer.
She said the city government will shoulder the funeral and burial expenses of the fatalities, among other financial assistance.
“We will apply the fullest and maximum resources we have to help the victims,” Chiong said. “Please include us in your prayers,” she added.
About 895 families from the affected areas are temporarily housed in seven evacuation centers including the Enan Chiong Activity Center (ECAC), Naalad Elementary School, Apo Cemex covered court, Naga Central School, Guanzon Beach Resort and in the covered court of San Fernando town.
Cimatu orders probe
Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu has conducted a site inspection at the landslide area shortly past 12 noon yesterday and said a team from Manila will come to probe what caused the landslide and who, if any, should be held accountable.
Cimatu has ordered for the preventive relief of personnel from Mines and Geosciences Bureau, the arm of the DENR that is tasked to monitor mining activities, while the the investigation is being conducted.
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