FORTY-ONE individuals have remained unaccounted for following a landslide in the mining village of Masara in Maco, Davao de Oro, the Eastern Mindanao Command (EMC) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said Wednesday, February 7, 2024.
In a statement, the EMC said out of the 86 employees of Apex Mining who were initially reported trapped, 45 have already been rescued.
Three of those rescued are in critical condition, requiring urgent air evacuation.
The EMC said that search and rescue operations were halted under the direction of Representative Ruwel Peter Gonzaga, the incident post commander at 12:15 a.m. Wednesday, February 7, due to hazardous conditions and the deteriorating situation on the ground.
The roads leading to and from the landslide area remain impassable and there is no cellphone signal in the area, but emergency communication teams from the 1001st Infantry Brigade, 10th Infantry Division, have already been deployed. Radio contact within the affected vicinity and Temporary Command Posts (TCP) has also been established.
“Efforts continue to locate and rescue the remaining 41 individuals, as declared by Apex Mines,” the EMC said.
It said 86 families or 600 individuals from the neighboring communities have been evacuated to safer locations but there are reports of unaccounted individuals believed to be affected by the landslide.
Some 42 individuals were also in an evacuation area that is currently inaccessible by vehicle.
The AFP said it established a Tactical Command Post (TCP) at Tagbaros Patrol Base, while the 1001st Brigade is coordinating efforts at the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (DRRMC) and the Provincial Incident Command Post, providing leadership assistance in disaster management.
A total of 14 military vehicles have also been deployed to support rescue operations, alongside other vehicles from various organizations and agencies while sufficient heavy equipment from Apex Mines is on standby, awaiting the optimal conditions to resume clearing operations.
“Operations are expected to be resumed at daybreak with the deployment of rescue and retrieval teams,” the EMC said.
“Helicopters will be deployed for the air evacuation of the three critically injured victims,” it added. (TPM/SunStar Philippines)