- Masara death toll landslide now 55
WITH EACH passing day, the hope of finding survivors underneath a mountain of rubble continues to fade as the death toll climbed to 55 as of Feb. 12, 7 a.m.
The Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO) of Maco revealed that 63 persons are still missing.
However, after rescuing a three-year-old girl about 60 hours after the landslide occurred on Feb. 6, the incident command post team remained “hopeful” in finding more people alive despite the increasing death toll.
Provincial DRRM officer Joseph Randy Loy said during the virtual press conference on Saturday, Feb. 10, that the team is working to rescue people and not merely to retrieve bodies.
“If we deal with search and rescue, we deal more with saving more lives and anticipating that there are a lot of people alive in the area and to respond to them and bring them to the nearest health care facilities,” Loy said.
However, he said the chances of survival cannot be guaranteed as the location where the individuals are situated is undetermined.
She said that “pockets” of air within the rubble may allow some people to breathe but it could not be determined how long.
“There is no rules that would say na ganitong oras, ganito na ang sitwasyon, depende kasi talaga doon sa kanilang na paglagyan as of the moment,” he stressed.
Ferdinand Dobli, APEX Mining Corporation incident commander, said that as of Feb. 10, the incident command post continues the search and rescue and has not yet shifted to retrieval.
“Rescue, meaning dahan dahan pa rin nating bungkalin kasi kung nasa retrieval na tayo mabilisan na ang pag mobilize ng mga equipment and it will endanger any signs of life pa na natabunan,” Dobli said.
The command post has employed sniffing dogs to detect lives underneath the debris. Presently, there are ten K9 sniffing dogs in the area. “Appa”, the Philippine Coast Guard Southeastern Mindanao District, has earned for himself an Internet following after playing a crucial role in the rescue of the 3-year-old girl.
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