Up to 11 dead in southern Philippine landslides

Philippines, Nov 21, 2008

Days of heavy rains on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao triggered two landslides on Thursday (November 20) that killed up to 11 people, according to the Associated Press (AP) and local media. The landslides occurred in the mining province of Compostela Valley, where the rains loosened dirt and rocks in the Diwata mountain range, causing the slides that have led local officials to declare a state of calamity. The AP reported that the first landslide occurred in Upper Ulip, a mountainside village in Compostela Valley's Monkayo township, which also suffers frequent attacks by communist rebels who extort money from mining companies. The mud, rocks and trees that crashed down the mountain buried several houses and killed at least five people, including three children whose bodies were pulled out Friday (November 21). Two others are known to be missing, but officials said the number will likely rise. The heavy rains also triggered a landslide in another area, Mount Diwata village, and the Inquirer reported officials as saying that at least six people were killed. The AP did not report any deaths in the second landslide, but said that joint army and police teams rescued nine people who were buried in the mud and rocks. According to the AP, about 40,000 people, mostly miners and their families, live in the area around Mount Diwata, where landslides are common. The Inquirer reported that officials were considering evacuating residents from some areas to avoid further casualties. Landslides and floods are common throughout the Philippines, particularly during the country's two monsoon seasons, from June through September in the south and November through April in the northern and central provinces.