Rescuers have resumed working in the Philippine village that has been buried under a meters of rocks and mud on Friday. There is not many chances to uncover any survivors among the 1,800 people listed as missing as a result of the massive landslide. Every woman, man and child in the village of Ginsaugon, located on the island of Leyte, is feared dead. This farming village has been entirely swallowed by a wall of mud and boulders.
The search was focusing on an elementary school amid unconfirmed reports that relatives of some of the 250 children and teachers had received cell phone text messages from survivors. On Saturday, 11 other villages in the area were evacuated out of fear of further landslides. Guinsaugon, on the southern part of Leyte island, has been swamped with 27 inches of rain over the last two weeks.
The U.S. military dispatched two warships and 1,000 Marines to the area.
Many blamed persistent rains and illegal logging for Friday's disaster.
The logging "stopped around 10 years ago," Roger Mercado, a member of Congress who represents the area, told Manila radio station DZBB. "But this is the effect of the logging in the past."
Soldiers were being shuttled to the disaster zone in the shovels of bulldozers that carried them across a shallow stream. With the mud estimated at 30 feet deep at some points, they were given sketches of the village so they could figure out approximately where the houses once stood.
Farnacio estimated the death toll at about 1,800 - nearly every man, woman and child who lived in Guinsaugon, about 400 miles east of the capital, Manila.
Some "1,800 are feared dead," a grim Farnacio said as search efforts resumed Saturday in a drenching rain and high winds.
Only 57 survivors have been found - none so far Saturday - out of a population of 1,857. At least 24 bodies have been pulled from the mud. A child, who was rescued, died overnight from head injuries, the AP reports.
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