Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Pregnant Mom, Child Buried Alive In Zamboanga Landslide

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / June 24, 2008) – A pregnant mother and her child were killed after a landslide on Tuesday buried a house in Zamboanga city in southern Philippines.

Heavy rains triggered by typhoon Fengshen last week had loosed soil that buried the house of the Candado family near a hillside village called Maasin. “The house was destroyed by the landslide and a pregnant mother and her child were buried alive,” said village chieftain Misael Bernardo.

Bernardo also appealed on radio for equipment to dig through debris and recover the victims. “We need help here. The house is buried and there are two people inside, a pregnant mother and her child,” he told the dxRZ Radyo Agong.

Witnesses said more than half of the house was buried in boulders and mud and villagers dug though debris with their bare hands to retrieve the victims, but failed to save them.

The woman’s husband was working at a construction site when the landslide occurred shortly before 9 a.m. The bodies were recovered three hours later. The woman, Liza, was five months pregnant and her child, Chubby, was only six years old.

The typhoon, whose local codename Frank, left a trail of destruction in the southern Philippines where at least 2 dozen people were reported killed and injured and tens of thousands displaced by flash floods.

But authorities said the death toll across the country could reach to hundreds after a 24,000-ton ferry, the Princess of the Star, with nearly 750 aboard capsized off Sibuyan Island in Romblon province as the typhoon battered central and northern Philippines before heading towards Taiwan.

At least 155 people have been confirmed dead from the fury of the typhoon.

Rescuers have found several dozens of survivors and cadavers from the stricken ferry, owned by Sulpicio Lines. The government has suspended all Sulpicio’s ferries until a maritime investigation into the sinking of the Princess of the Star is finished.

Initial maritime reports said the ferry’s engine malfunctioned and that the captain of the vessel had told passengers to abandon the ship. The captain was among those missing and presumed dead. (Mindanao Examiner)

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