(UPDATE) Death toll from ComVal landslide rises to 30; 44 still missing

January 8, 2012 12:06 pm 

DAVAO CITY, Jan. 8 — The death toll from a recent landslide that hit a gold-rich mining township in southern Philippines rose to 30 as search operations continued, officials said Sunday.

Arthuro Uy, governor of Compostela Valley province in Mindanao, said at least 30 bodies had been recovered and rescuers were still looking for 44 people who went missing following the landslide that hit Napnapan village, Pantukan town.

"Yesterday (Saturday), three more bodies have been recovered. We will continue the search mission for three more days," said Uy.

Benito Ramos, chief of the country's National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), said he was hopeful that there would be more survivors.

"I'm not losing hope there are still alive victims," said Ramos, who visited the town.

"Only four of the fatalities were residents of Pantukan. The rest came from other provinces," he added.

Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo flew over the area on Friday and ordered in a talk with local officials the immediate shutdown of mining operations there and the eviction of close to 2,000 residents including miners and their families.

The landslide broke out at around 3 a.m. Thursday as most of the communities were asleep, trapping most of the victims inside their shanties.

About 60 houses were destroyed or buried as tons of soil, rocks and uprooted trees cascaded down the side of the mining village. The landslide left a swath of destruction some 300 meters long and 60 meters wide. (PNA/Xinhua)

DCT/jsd

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