A destroyed house that was swept more than a mile downhill following a massive landslide is seen in Naga, central Philippines Friday, Sept. 21, 2018. Philippine troops and police forcibly evacuated residents of five villages vulnerable to landslides after the collapse of a mountainside buried dozens of homes.(AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

Landslide forces evacuations of Philippine villages

More than 1,200 people in villages near the landslide-hit area were forcibly moved by authorities

Philippine troops and police forcibly evacuated residents of five villages vulnerable to landslides after the collapse of a mountainside buried dozens of homes and killed at least 29 people in a central region.

Some residents left on their own, but most of the more than 1,200 people in villages near the landslide-hit area were forcibly moved by authorities Thursday night, police Chief Superintendent Debold Sinas said Friday.

Survivors heard a thunderous roar, crashing and banging when the mountainside collapsed onto houses in two villages in Naga city on Thursday morning. Some who were trapped in the sludge managed to send text messages pleading for help, but the messages stopped within a few hours.

RELATED: Typhoon lashes south China after killing 36 in Philippines

Distraught relatives begged for more backhoes to be brought to the earth and debris where they hoped loved ones could be pulled out alive, but there were far too few machines to dig for the dozens of people missing.

Dennis Pansoy, a 41-year-old shipyard worker, had left his wife, two sons and two other relatives in the family home for less than an hour on his way to work when the landslide buried his neighbourhood.

Since Thursday, Pansoy has been standing by the mound of more than 20 metres (65 feet) of earth and rocks covering his house and watching rescuers dig slowly with shovels. No heavy equipment had come. Pansoy asked why no one had warned residents to evacuate after cracks were spotted on the mountainside.

“If we had been warned, we would have left,” Pansoy said. “I lost everything after I left the house yesterday.”

Resident Nimrod Parba said a trapped relative called for help about three hours after the landslide hit, entombing 13 of his kin. “They are still under the rubble, they are still there. They are covered in shallow earth, we need a backhoe,” Parba said.

A man embracing a child in a house was dug out by searchers using a backhoe Thursday night in a poignant scene witnessed by two AP journalists.

Authorities have limited the number of rescuers and other people inside the villages, fearing heavy rains could cause new slides. Thursday’s landslide also covered part of a river, prompting officials to order a temporary canal to be dug.

About 270 government troops and policemen were deployed to prevent residents from returning to high-risk villages, Sinas said.

President Rodrigo Duterte was to visit Naga city in Cebu province later Friday.

RELATED: Filipino-Canadians concerned about family after typhoon hits Philippines

The landslide in the central region occurred as parts of the far northern Philippines deal with damage from a typhoon that hit last weekend. At least 95 people were killed and more than 50 are missing, many in the gold-mining town of Itogon where landslides hit houses and a chapel where people had gathered in the storm.

Cebu province was not directly hit by Typhoon Mangkhut but the storm intensified the seasonal monsoon rains that normally fall in tropical Asia.

It’s not clear what set off Thursday’s landslide, but some residents blamed limestone quarries which they suspect caused cracks in the mountainside facing their villages.

The Philippines is one of the world’s most disaster-prone countries. It is lashed by about 20 tropical storms each year and has active seismic faults where earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur. Poverty forces many people to live in vulnerable areas, making natural disasters more deadly.

Bullit Marquez And Joeal Calupitan, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

UPDATE: B.C. Hydro explain vandalism that caused Vernon power outage

According to B.C. Hydro, around 2,400 Vernon residents were without power from 4:30- 7 p.m. Monday

SPCA seek public’s help for cat found injured on Vernon road

Stallone is suffering from several injuries and remains in SPCA care

Man arrested in Kelowna following Shuswap vehicle thefts, pursuit

Suspect wanted in Alberta allegdly also stole several vehicles near Sicamous over the weekend

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: mix of sun and clouds

Environment Canada is predicting a 30 per cent chance of showers and a risk of thunderstorms this afternoon across the Okanagan

Vernon pageant participant heads stateside

Samantha Sewell will represent North America at Miss Royalty International in Milwaukee

West Kelowna vet saves turtle from hook

Dr. Moshe Oz removed fish hook lodged in the turtle’s throat

Casa Loma residents petition to halt proposed Blackmun Bay project

West Kelowna City Council grants second reading for what would be the city’s largest development

The Okanagan’s master tailor from Chile

Sam Galvez started his business 6 years ago and hasn’t stopped loving it

Worried about bats? Here’s what to do if you come across one in B.C.

Bat expert with the BC Community Bat Program urges caution around the small creatures

Boat sails from trailer to pavement at Sicamous Highway 97A intersection

Alberta resident charged with transporting insecure load, failing to adequately connect trailer

Collision with hydro pole cuts power to thousands in the Shuswap

Minor injuries to the driver were reported; power was restored by the following morning

B.C. on right road with tougher ride-hailing driver rules, says expert

The provincial government is holding firm that ride-hailing drivers have a Class 4 licence

RCMP investigating alleged ‘sexual misconduct’ by cyclist on BCIT campus

BCIT said they were reviewing video evidence of the incident

New home cost dips in B.C.’s large urban centres

Victoria, Kelowna, Vancouver prices decline from last year

Most Read