Search for Davao de Oro landslide victims ends

Search for Davao de Oro landslide victims ends

/ 10:18 AM February 27, 2024

Some 300 families or 2,000 individuals were affected by the landslide in a mining village in Davao de Oro's Maco town, Civil Defense Administrator Ariel Nepomuceno said on Wednesday. 


TAGUM CITY — The local government of Maco town, in Davao de Oro province, has completely stopped the search and retrieval of missing victims of the devastating landslide last Feb. 6 in the mining village of Masara.

Upon the order of Maco Mayor Arthur Carlos Voltaire Rimando, the search and retrieval operations in Masara were terminated as of 5 p.m. on Thursday, said Jiesyl Mae Tan, spokesperson of the multiagency incident management team (IMT).


READ: Davao de Oro landslide deaths soar to 98; over 5,300 in evacuation centers


Rimando’s order stemmed from the IMT’s recommendation, which noted that excavation operations had already removed the mud and other debris dumped into the village when a portion of a mountainside collapsed on the night of Feb 6 following weeks of rain.

The landslide’s ‘ground zero’ in Masaru’s Zone 1 is the seat of the entire village, which has over 1,200 people, a number of whom work for Apex Mining Co. Inc. (AMCI).

Based on official count, the tragedy left 98 people dead and eight still missing. According to Tan, 93 bodies were retrieved from underneath the 33-meter debris of mud and rocks that covered some 10 hectares of inhabited area.

Apart from at least 50 houses, the landslide also buried three buses and a jeepney that were to ferry AMCI workers to their respective homes. Some 31 workers of AMCI were pulled out alive within hours after the slide, while a 3-year-old toddler was recovered about 60 hours later.

Leah Añora, head of the management of the dead and the missing cluster of the IMT, said body parts of four persons were also retrieved from the site.

So far, only 79 of those retrieved had been identified, Tan said.


The 14 unidentified bodies and body parts were buried in temporary graves at a public cemetery in Maco.

READ: Flood-hit Davao de Oro now in a state of calamity

Three Masara residents and five regular and service workers remain missing and are feared dead.

Ariel Capoy, Maco municipal disaster risk reduction and management officer, said 160 responders, including three search and retrieval teams, were at the ground zero as of Feb. 21.

Thirty-five pieces of heavy equipment were also deployed in the search and retrieval operations that began on Feb 12, Capoy added.

The Mines and Geosciences Bureau has recommended the entire village, which includes the unaffected Zone 2, a no-build zone since 2008, following a series of landslides there that had killed at least 30 people due to the village’s high risk of landslides.

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The Feb. 6 disaster, the Davao region’s worst in over a decade, had displaced over 5,300 people from five villages who were forcibly evacuated from their homes by local authorities.

TAGS: Davao de Oro, Landslide, Regions

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