01/05/2012, 00.00
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Mindanao, landslide leaves dozens of gold diggers dead and 150 missing

The disaster occurred in the early hours of the day. A mini-typhoon unleashed heavy rains over the village. The residents refused to leave the mountain, made unstable by rampant digging. In recent weeks, 1249 died in Mindanao after Typhoon Washi.
Manila (AsiaNews / Agencies) - A landslide in Pantukan, the island of Mindanao, has swept away the homes of a gold mining village, killing at least 25 people and leaving more than 150 missing. The landslide hit a secluded village, populated by more than 100 families of miners and prospectors, called Napnapan in Compostela Valley, and relief has been hampered by the lack of adequate roads. The survivors are digging in the mud and debris with their bare hands in the hope of finding relatives and friends still alive under the blanket of earth. The head of the Philippine Civil Defence, Benito Ramos, asked the army and local mining companies to get emergency vehicles and bulldozers to Napnapan. Local sources confirm that military vehicles and soldiers arrived in the area a few hours ago. So far, 15 people have been pulled alive from the rubble of the houses.

The landslide occurred around 3.00 am this morning (local time) and was caused by continuous high intensity rains that hit the island over the past two days, caused by a mini-typhoon that made landfall before moving off to sea. A witness said he was awakened by the sound of stones falling on the roof of his house. "It was dark, but we decided to move to safer ground. A few hours later we saw tons of earth and mud had buried dozens of homes”. Rampant digging for gold have made the mountain unstable.

In April 2011 the area was hit by landslides, and authorities urged people to leave the village, which was at risk. The inhabitants declined, in the hope of finding more gold. And they were joined by other prospectors, driven by the growth in the price of gold.

Military helicopters are carrying specialist rescue teams to Napnapan from Cagayan de Oro, one of the cities hardest hit by Typhoon Washi in December. At least 1249 people died in flash floods caused by Typhoon Washi which devastated Mindanao last month. (20/12/2011 Typhoon Washi, Manila declares a national emergency. First burials en masse).

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Typhoon Washi, Manila declares a national emergency. First burials en masse
Help flood victims, says archbishop of Cagayan de Oro
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