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Baby survives Naga landslide


A baby girl  survived being crushed by boulders that fell on her grandfather’s home in Naga City, south Cebu.

The landslide took place 11 a.m. Saturday in barangay Naalad, but it wasn’t until yesterday that the full extent of the landslide was seen by government geologists.

The baby’s  father Reynante Panilag, 24,  was at a river washing his motorcycle when he heard a loud crash.

He returned to find several boulders had fallen on  top of houses in their neighborhood.

“I panicked after my wife shouted that our daughter was left in my father’s house,” Panilag said.

He ran back to their nipa hut, and found it smashed  by  a  boulder the size of a dining table.

The same boulder fell on his father’s concrete house a few meters below, ruining half of it.

A  large hole in the roof showed the entry point.

Inside, his 1-year-old daughter was in her cradle covered in dust.

“I thought she was dead.  I was so relieved when I heard her cry,” Panilag said.

His 73-year-old father Nacario, who was cooking rice, had stepped out of the house five minutes before the boulder dropped on the couch he was sitting on in front of the TV.

Four houses were completely ruined, a fifth was badly damaged while  22 families evacuated after the landslide, fearing another avalanche.

The houses sit beside a mountain, where  part of the ridge broke off on Saturday.

The accident site  is  50-meter  walk downhill from the main road.

Three other houses were owned by Panilag’s siblings. Panilag said he was grateful  they recovered some of their clothes and their bed. The TV, couch, kitchen and dining area of his father’s house were destroyed.

Panilag said they no longer tried to move the rocks for fear the whole house may collapse.

Another resident, Marissa Bonghanoy, 32, said they were sitting in their sari-sari store when they saw five boulders, about three meters wide each, fall on top of houses.

She said some neighbors who climbed the mountain peak said a boulder nearly the size of a truck remained stuck in the mountain.

“We’re willing to move somewhere safe,” she said.

The part  of the  mountain ridge that  collapsed is  150 meters  from the houses, according to the Mines and Geosciences Bureau in Central Visayas (MGB-7).

An MGB-7 team of geologists visited the area yesterday  to assess the damage caused by the landslide.

Property loss was about P200,000 said  Eddie Llamedo, spokesman of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Central Visayas.

He said the DENR issued a landslide threat advisory in  barangay Naalad last 2008 after a geology survey showed possible soil movement in the area.

Llamedo said heavy rains in the area triggered the landslide.

He recommended to the Naga City government to  find a  permanent relocation area for the 26 families since the area is at high-risk of another landslide.

He said they also advised the Transco Energy Co. to move one of their towers  which is near  the landslide-prone area.

He said the operation of a nearby quarry site in the area didn’t trigger the landslide since there was no quarrying done there at the time.

Naga City and Capitol officials each pledged to help the displaced families.

Social workers  said they are waiting for  Naga City counterparts to give details of how many are affected and what financial aid is needed.  With Correspondents Carmel Loise Matus and Fe Marie Dumaboc

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Tags: Accidents , Landslide

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