Fears for fate of people buried in chapel by Philippines landslide

((Photo: Reuters/Erik De Castro))Rescuers have been working in difficult conditions to find survivors of a landslide in the Philippines

Hopes are fading of finding survivors from a massive landslide that buried a chapel in the Philippines on Saturday.

At least 57 people were unaccounted for in the small hillside mining community in Itogon, Benguet, on Tuesday. Many of them were sheltering inside a small chapel at the time of the landslide, triggered by Typhoon Mangkhut.

Rescue efforts have been hampered by widespread damage to roads, preventing heavy machinery from being brought to the site.

Hundreds of rescuers have had to hike two hours from the nearest highway to reach the village and dig through the mountain of mud and debris by hand.

The massive storm forced around 150,000 in the Philippines to shelter in evacuation centres, before it brushed past Hong Kong and made landfall in China, where another four people have been confirmed dead.

Police officer Heherson Zambale told The Associated Press he had tried to persuade villagers in the mining community to evacuate the day before the tragedy struck but they decided to stay put.

The villagers reportedly told the police officer that they believed the site of the chapel and nearby bunkhouses to be stable, and that they would evacuate if the storm became severe.

Some villagers decided to go to the evacuation centre after the officer's warning.

'But many were left behind,' said Zambale.

According to CBC Canada, a special police unit scanned the affected area with a special radar that can detect heart beats, but nothing was picked up.

Regional police commander Rolando Nana said: 'I really feel sad, I cannot describe the emotion. It's not only the people who don't listen. They have children, wives, elderly parents who will all suffer.'

Source: Christian Today