Home Environment Child Rescued After Nearly 60 Hours in Philippine Landslide

Child Rescued After Nearly 60 Hours in Philippine Landslide

Child Rescued in Philippine Landslide
rescue operations continue in the landslide-hit village of Masara, Maco, Davao de Oro, Philippines on Feb 8, 2024. (Photo: REUTERS/Mark Navales)

MASARA VILLAGE, Philippines — In a remarkable turn of events, a child was rescued on Friday, almost 60 hours after a devastating landslide struck a gold-mining village in the southern Philippines. The rescue has been hailed as a “miracle” by searchers who had given up hope of finding any survivors.

The girl, whose age has not been disclosed, was among the more than 100 people reported missing after the rain-induced landslide hit Masara village on southern Mindanao island. The disaster claimed the lives of at least 15 individuals.

Rescuers, armed with nothing but their bare hands and shovels, tirelessly combed through the debris in a desperate search for survivors. It was during this arduous effort that the child was discovered, providing a glimmer of hope amidst the tragedy.

Edward Macapili, an official from the Davao de Oro province’s disaster agency, expressed his astonishment, stating, “It’s a miracle. That gives hope to the rescuers. A child’s resilience is usually less than that of adults, yet the child survived.”

Heartwarming footage capturing the moment a rescuer carried the crying child, covered in mud, spread rapidly on social media platforms. Macapili confirmed that the child appeared to be free of visible injuries and was immediately transported to a medical facility for a thorough examination.

The landslide occurred on Tuesday night, obliterating houses and engulfing three buses and a jeepney that were waiting to transport workers from a nearby gold mine. The tragedy resulted in the loss of 15 lives, with an additional 31 individuals sustaining injuries. As of now, over a hundred people are still unaccounted for.

Rescue teams faced a race against time and unfavorable weather conditions as rain continued to pour over the area on Friday. While heavy earth-moving equipment was utilized in certain areas, searchers had to rely on their own strength and basic tools to navigate sections where they believed bodies might be buried. Canine units were also deployed to aid in detecting those trapped beneath the mud and rubble.

The Philippines, with its mountainous terrain, heavy rainfall, and rampant deforestation due to mining, slash-and-burn farming, and illegal logging, is no stranger to landslides. The region has been grappling with recurring hazards, exacerbated by recent seismic activity. Persistent rain has triggered multiple landslides and floods, forcing tens of thousands of people into emergency shelters.

In the wake of the disaster, hundreds of families from Masara and nearby villages have been forced to evacuate their homes and seek refuge in emergency centers, fearing further landslides. As a precautionary measure, schools in the municipality have suspended classes.

It is worth noting that the area affected by the landslide had been previously deemed a “no build zone” following similar incidents in 2007 and 2008. Macapili emphasized that despite relocation efforts and the provision of resettlement areas, some residents had defiantly returned to the hazardous location.

As the search and rescue operation continues, the miraculous survival of the child serves as a beacon of hope, reminding rescuers of the extraordinary strength and resilience that can be found even in the most dire circumstances.