Philippine landslide death toll climbs to 54

MANILA: The number of people killed by a landslide in the southern Philippines has risen to 54, the provincial government said on Sunday, as rescue workers dug more bodies from the mud.

The landslide struck on Tuesday night near a gold mine in Maco town in the province of Davao de Oro, burying homes and vehicles ferrying employees to the site operated by Apex Mining APX.PS.

Davao de Oro’s provincial government said in a Facebook post that 54 people had died in the landslide, raising its previous death toll of 37 earlier in the day as rescue workers found more bodies.

The tally of missing people stood at 63 people, with the provincial government saying the number remains unverified. A total of 32 people were injured in the landslide.

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Edward Macapili, an official at Davao de Oro, said over 300 people were involved in the rescue, but operations were being hampered by heavy rain, thick mud and the threat of further landslides. Rescue work resumed on Sunday morning, Macapili said.

Asked if there were still survivors, Macapili said it was already “unlikely”, but the search would continue.

“The rescue team is doing its best, even if it’s very difficult,” Macapili said by phone.

Torrential rains have battered Davao de Oro in recent weeks, triggering floods and landslides.

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