Miracle rescue: Child saved after 60 hours in landlslide-hit village in Davao de Oro

By: Agence France Presse February 09,2024 - 02:51 PM

Miracle rescue: Child saved after 60 hours from landslide-hit village

In this handout photo from the Eastern Mindanao Command, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) taken on February 7, 2024 and received on February 8, 2024, shows responders conduct search and rescue operations in Maco, Davao de Oro. (Photo by Handout / Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Eastern Mindanao Command / AFP)

The rescue of a child on Friday nearly 60 hours after a landslide hit a gold-mining village in the southern Philippines has been hailed as a “miracle” after searchers had given up hope of finding anyone alive.

The girl, whose age has not been disclosed, had been among the more than 100 people missing after the rain-induced landslide hit the village, killing at least 11 people.

She was found as rescuers used their bare hands and shovels to look for survivors in Masara village on southern Mindanao island, disaster agency official Edward Macapili of Davao de Oro province told AFP.

READ: Davao landslide kills 6, injures 31 others

“It’s a miracle,” Macapili said, adding that searchers had believed the missing were probably dead.

“That gives hope to the rescuers. A child’s resilience is usually less than that of adults, yet the child survived.”

Video of a rescuer carrying the crying, mud-caked child in his arms was shared on Facebook.

“We can see in the social media posts that the child did not have any visible injuries,” Macapili said.

He said the girl’s father saw his child before she was taken to a medical facility for a check-up.

READ: At least 7 killed, dozens missing in Mindanao mining landslide

The landslide struck Tuesday night, destroying houses and engulfing three buses and a jeepney waiting to pick up workers from a gold mine.

At least 11 people were killed and 31 injured, while more than a hundred are still missing, official figures show.

Searchers were in a race against time and weather to find anyone else alive in the thick mud as rain fell over the area on Friday.

While rescuers were using heavy earth-moving equipment in places, they had to rely on their bare hands and shovels in areas where they believed there were bodies.

Sniffer dogs were also being used to detect those buried in the mud and rubble.

READ: ‘Missing’ persons in landslide area now at 110, says local gov’t

Landslides are a frequent hazard across much of the archipelago nation due to the mountainous terrain, heavy rainfall, and widespread deforestation from mining, slash-and-burn farming and illegal logging.

Rain has pounded parts of Mindanao on and off for weeks, triggering dozens of landslides and flooding that have forced tens of thousands of people into emergency shelters.

Massive earthquakes have also destabilised the region in recent months.

Hundreds of families from Masara and four nearby villages have had to evacuate from their homes and shelter in emergency centres for fear of further landslides.

Schools across the municipality have suspended classes.

The area hit by the landslide had been declared a “no build zone” after previous landslides in 2007 and 2008, Macapili said.

“People were asked to leave that place and they were given a resettlement area, but the people are so hard-headed and they returned,” he said.

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TAGS: child, Davao de oro, landslide

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