Several dead in Cebu landslide, dozens feared trapped

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 20 2018 07:29 AM | Updated as of Sep 20 2018 11:53 PM

Rescuers respond to a landslide in Naga, Cebu. ABS-CBN News

Rescuers respond to a landslide in Naga, Cebu. ABS-CBN News

Rescuers respond to a landslide in Naga, Cebu. ABS-CBN News

Rescuers respond to a landslide in Naga, Cebu. ABS-CBN News

A man is loaded into an ambulance after the landslide. Vhann Quisido

This contributed photo shows the landslide site. Vhann Quisido

NAGA CITY, Cebu (UPDATED) - At least 18 people were killed when a portion of the mountain collapsed and buried some 20 houses in this city early Thursday, the local disaster office said. 

The landslide in Sitio Sindulan, Barangay Tinaan struck before dawn following heavy rains, Julius Regner, public information officer of the disaster office, told radio DZMM.

As of 11 p.m. Thursday, the Naga City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office said 13 were also reported injured, while 74 remain missing.

"We are hoping and praying na may ma-rescue pa (that we can still rescue them)," Naga City spokesperson Gary Cabotaje said, noting that rescue operations will continue even until nighttime.

The houses buried under mounds of rocks and soil were located near a quarry site, said Tinaan Barangay Chairman Teodoro Cantal Jr. 

Residents there were advised to evacuate from the area about 2 weeks ago after fissures were spotted on the ground, he said in a separate DZMM interview.

"The ground is still shaky," city councilor Carmelino Cruz, Jr. added. "Every now and then you will hear vibrations."

Rescue teams from all over the province were deployed to the area. 

Some 500 families in 3 villages fled to an evacuation center after the landslide. 

Rains have lashed Cebu since typhoon Ompong's onslaught last weekend, Regner said. 

PALACE CONDOLES WITH BEREAVED

Malacañang expressed condolences to families of victims in the landslide and assured assistance.

"Nakikiramay po kami doon sa mga naging biktima ng landslide sa Naga at asahan ninyo po na lahat naman po ay gagawin ng gobyerno para maibsan iyong dalamhati na nadarama ng mga biktima," Palace spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement.

(We sympathize with victims of the landslide in Naga and rest assured that the government will do everything it can to ease your pain.)

"Titingnan po natin kung paano natin maiiwasan ang mga ganitong pangyayari sa mga darating pang mga panahon," he added.

(We are looking at how we can avoid these kinds of incidents in the future.)

Ompong, the strongest typhoon to hit the country so far this year, caused more than 100 landslides, mostly in the mountainous Cordillera region in northern Luzon. The storm's death toll countrywide was 88 by Thursday, police said, most from the landslides.

-- With reports from Leleth Ann Rumaguera and Annie Perez, ABS-CBN News, and Reuters