MANILA, Philippines (AP) — A landslide set off by heavy rains buried homes under part of a mountainside in the central Philippines on Thursday, and several people are feared buried, including two who sent text messages seeking help. Officials said four people were killed and seven injured.
The collapse buried about 30 small houses in two villages after daybreak in Naga city in Cebu province. Roderick Gonzales, the police chief of Naga city, told The Associated Press by telephone that rescuers were at the scene and more were coming. It’s not known how many people lived in the houses or how many were able to escape.
Naga City Councilor Carmelino Cruz Jr. said four people had died and seven who were injured had been rescued in two spots of the landslide-hit area.
“We’re running out of time. The ground in the area is still vibrating. We’re striking a balance between intensifying our rescue efforts and ensuring the safety of our rescuers,” Cruz said by phone.
Some victims still managed to send text messages after the landslide, Gonzales told the AP by phone as he helped oversee search and rescue work. He said three of the dead were elderly women and a child.
More than 300 villagers were evacuated from the area for safety as search and rescue work continues, Angelene Templo, an assistant to the mayor, told AP by phone.
Naga is a coastal city with a population of more than 100,000. Cebu province was not directly hit by Typhoon Mangkhut, which pounded the northern Philippines on Saturday and left more than 80 people dead and 70 missing, mostly in landslides.
The mountain where Thursday’s landslide occurred has limestone quarries and the rains may have loosened part of the mountainside.