Death toll in Visayas earthquake rises to 35

Residents using a ladder cross a collapsed bridge destroyed at the height of the powerful earthquake in Jimalalud town, Negros Oriental province, central Philippines on February 9, 2012. Survivors of a deadly quake in the Philippines begged rescuers February 8 to keep searching for dozens of people buried in landslides, but officials said hopes of finding them alive were dim. (MNS photo)

MANILA, Feb 10 (Mabuhay) — The death toll from landslides triggered by an earthquake in the central Philippines has risen to 35 and scores of missing are feared dead as rains and aftershocks hamper rescue efforts, disaster officials said on Friday.

A magnitude 6.7 quake (US Geological Survey data; magnitude 6.9 based on data from Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology) struck near Tayasan town on Negros Oriental on Monday, damaging bridges, highways, some public buildings, and toppling power and communications lines. Churches and houses were also destroyed.

More than 1,400 aftershocks had been recorded since Monday, making it difficult for rescuers to search for survivors due to unstable ground and softened by several days of rains.

Benito Ramos, executive director of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, told Reuters soldiers found the body of a woman on Friday after rescue operations resumed.

“We have brought in thermal imaging machines and powerful cameras to determine if there are still survivors trapped under tons of soil and boulders in the landslide areas,” Ramos said.

“We will continue our search for survivors, we will not give up even if four days had gone by. I believe in miracles.” (MNS)

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