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

Darrell Paulovich remembered after accident claims his life

A tragic accident claimed the life of a rodeo advocate over the weekend

Video reaction sheds light on employee rights

A McDonald’s Ponoka customer’s reaction to a labour issue created some training opportunities

Ponoka soldiers killed in action in WWI recognized in worldwide vigil

The World Remembers vigil concludes this year following the centenary of the last year of WWI

Ponoka residents asked to provide input in 2019 budget

Ponoka’s budget process is underway and council hopes to hear from residents on their priorities

Serious collision north of Ponoka

Emergency crews were on scene of a serious collision north of Ponoka on Highway 2

Naked man jumping into Toronto shark tank a ‘premeditated’ stunt: official

The man swam in a tank at Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada

Transport Canada to take new look at rules, research on school bus seatbelts

Canada doesn’t currently require seatbelts on school buses

Theft of $140,000 in machinery investigated in County of Wetaskiwin

Wetaskiwin RCMP investigate theft of pipe fusion equipment

5 tips for talking to your kids about cannabis

Health officials recommend sharing a harm reduction-related message.

NHL players say Canada’s legalization of marijuana won’t impact them

NHL players say the legalization of marijuana in Canada won’t change how they go about their business.

Automated cars could kill wide range of jobs, federal documents say

Internal government documents show that more than one million jobs could be lost to automated vehicles, with ripple effects far beyond the likeliest professions.

Koreas agree to break ground on inter-Korean railroad

The rival Koreas are holding high-level talks Monday to discuss further engagement amid a global diplomatic push to resolve the nuclear standoff with North Korea.

Flash floods kill at least 7 people in southwest France

Flash floods have left several people dead in southwest France, with roads swept away and streams become raging torrents as the equivalent of several months of rain fell overnight, authorities said Monday.

Trump to visit Florida, Georgia; search ongoing for missing

The death toll from Michael’s destructive march from Florida to Virginia stood at 17.

Most Read