Cebu landslide search ops stopped: 78 dead

October 10, 2018

SEARCH, rescue and retrieval (SRR) operations in a village in Naga City in Cebu which was hit by a deadly landslide last September 20 was officially terminated on Saturday last week with the body count placed at 78 with six others listed as missing, officials said yesterday.

In a report to Philippine National Police chief, Director General Oscar D. Albayalde, Police Regional Office 7 director, Chief Superintendent Debold M. Sinas said Naga City Mayor Kristine Vanessa Chiong declared the official termination of all SRR operations in Sitio Sindulan and Sitio Tagaytay in Barangay Tinaan and part of Bgy. Naalad in the city on Saturday.

Sinas said the Management of Dead and Missing was likewise deactivated on the same date with 78 fatalities recorded, 76 of them identified and two others -- one male and one female -- still to be identified. Sinas said there were 15 body parts retrieved in the area which were subjected to DNA examination.

“The retrieved body parts have been subjected to further examination by our medico-legal officers and DNA analysts in order to determine to whom those body parts belong to as there were recovered dead bodies with missing body parts,” Sinas said.

Another 18 survivors were plucked out from the site of the tragedy while six were officially declared as missing.

Sinas said following the mayor’s declaration, he ordered the recall of troops from the Regional Mobile Force Battalion 7 who were sent to the area to help in the SRR operations. However, the official added that members of the Naga City Police Station remained in the site to strictly enforce a ‘no-entry’ rule in danger zones declared by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau in Central Visayas.

A rain-induced landslide struck the area last September 20 prompting a frantic search by police, military and civilian rescuers for people buried alive inside at least 24 houses.

Around 270 government troops, 100 of them policemen were sent to the danger zone to guard against the return of the affected residents, said Sinas.