After almost 60 hours since a landslide struck a gold-mining community in the southern Philippines, a child was rescued, which has been considered a miraculous event since searchers had already lost hope of finding any more survivors.
The Philippine Red Cross reported that a three-year-old girl was one of many individuals who were unaccounted for following a landslide caused by heavy rain in the village.
It was reported by authorities on Friday that the number of fatalities had nearly doubled, reaching a total of 27.
According to Edward Macapili from Davao de Oro province, a disaster agency official, the girl was discovered in Masara village on southern Mindanao island while rescue workers utilized their hands and shovels to search for any survivors.
“It’s incredible,” exclaimed Macapili, noting that the search team had initially assumed the missing individuals were deceased.
“This provides encouragement to the rescuers. Typically, a child’s ability to bounce back is not as strong as that of adults, yet the child managed to survive.”
A Facebook post showed a rescuer holding a distressed child covered in mud.
According to Macapili, the child’s social media posts do not show any apparent injuries.
The man stated that the father of the girl witnessed his daughter before she was transported to a medical center.
The Philippine Red Cross shared images on Facebook of their staff transporting a child, covered in a thermal blanket and connected to an oxygen tank, to a hospital in Mawab municipality.
On Tuesday night, a landslide took place, causing damage to homes and trapping three buses and a jeepney that were waiting to transport workers from a goldmine.
The archipelago islands are prone to landslides due to their mountainous landscape, frequent heavy rain, and extensive deforestation caused by mining, slash-and-burn agriculture, and illegal logging activities.
Heavy rainfall has increased in certain areas of Mindanao for several weeks, causing numerous landslides and floods which have resulted in tens of thousands of individuals seeking refuge in emergency shelters.
The search was put on hold on Saturday due to earthquakes.
There were no immediate reports of casualties or destruction caused by the 5.8 magnitude earthquake that struck the Mindanao area at 11:22 am (03:22 GMT), nor from a subsequent 5.4 magnitude tremor two hours later.
In recent months, the area has been destabilized by large earthquakes.
Many families from Masara and four neighboring villages have been forced to leave their houses and seek refuge in emergency shelters due to the risk of additional landslides.
Classes have been suspended in schools throughout the municipality.
According to Macapili, the location affected by the landslide was designated as a “no-build zone” following previous landslides in 2007 and 2008, as reported by AFP.
“He stated that individuals were instructed to vacate the premises and provided with a new settlement location, yet despite this, they stubbornly returned.”