News24

Death toll at 41 in Philippines quake

2012-02-12 07:43

Manila - The death toll in a magnitude-6.9 earthquake in the central Philippines rose to 41, with 67 people still missing and feared dead, the Office of Civil Defence said on Sunday.

The toll rose after rescue teams recovered two bodies from landslides caused by February 6 quake in Negros Oriental province, 570km south of Manila.

The civil defence office said 28 were still missing in the village of Planas in Guihulngan City and 39 in the village of Solonggon in nearby La Libertad town.

Rescue operations were being hampered by strong aftershocks and intermittent heavy rains threatening to cause more landslides, authorities said.

Civil defence chief Benito Ramos earlier said he feared that the chance of finding survivors among the missing was slim because of the landslides.

Captain Anacito Naz, civil-military operations chief of the army in the province, said heavy equipment had reached the two landslide sites to help in rescue operations.

The military has also been distributing relief goods to more than 80 000 residents, who were staying in makeshift tents or evacuation centres for fear the aftershocks would cause their houses to collapse.

The quake destroyed more than 5 600 houses, while partially damaged 5 002. Many roads cracked while three key bridges in the province collapsed.

Damages caused by the tremor were estimated to cost at least 365.36 million pesos ($8.69m), the OCD said.

The Philippines, located along the Pacific "Ring of Fire", suffered its worst earthquake in 1990 when a 7.7-magnitude tremor killed nearly 2 000 people on the northern island of Luzon.