THE ground zero in the landslide at Zone 1, Barangay Masara, in the municipality of Maco, Davao del Oro is approximately 3,000 square meters, according to an official from the 1001st Infantry “Pag-asa" Brigade.
Colonel Felix Ronnie Babac, in a radio interview on Monday morning, February 12, clarified that despite the wide hectare of the incident area and continuous soil movement, military units in the jurisdiction and other emergency responders of the region have intensified their search, rescue, and retrieval operations.
Of the team rescuers, 170 came from the Philippine Army (PA), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), and Coast Guard District Southeastern Mindanao (CGDSEM) of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).
Meanwhile, aside from military forces augmentation from Cotabato and Zamboanga, the Philippine Army (PA) central headquarters based in Quezon City has sent its 525th Engineer Combat Battalion with advanced equipment and technologies to help locate cadavers amid the rubble.
These equipment are thermal scanners that can detect the body heat of a person from at least 30 feet underground, snake eye cameras to monitor even tight holes and spaces, and listening devices, among others.
“We are hopeful na makatabang ni sya’g dako sa ground-zero para hopefully makakita pa tag mga buhi sa [nahitabong] landslide” (We are hopeful that this would greatly help and hopefully we could find alive persons who are victims of landslide), Col. Babac said on Saturday, February 10.
Currently, aside from the participation of security clusters in the rescue and retrieval operation, the Coast Guard’s nine highly trained K-9 dogs including the popular dog named Appa also play a vital role in retrieving several dead bodies.
As of press writing, casualties in the Masara landslide have reached 55 while 32 individuals were injured.
However, the Management of the Dead and the Missing (MDM) cluster has yet to validate the number of missing individuals. DEF