Thu, 27 Jun 2019

MANILA, PHILIPPINES - A landslide set off by heavy rains buried homes under part of a mountainside in the central Philippines on Thursday, and several people are feared buried, including two who sent text messages seeking help. The police chief said three bodies had been retrieved.

The collapse buried about 30 small houses in two villages after daybreak in Naga city in Cebu province. Roderick Gonzales, the police chief of Naga city, told The Associated Press by telephone that rescuers were at the scene and more were coming. It's not known how many people lived in the houses or how many were able to escape.

"We're really rushing to save people, time is of the essence, because some victims still managed to send text messages after the landslide," Gonzales told the AP by phone as he helped oversee search and rescue work.

He said the rescuers have retrieved the bodies of two elderly women and a child so far.

Cebu province was not directly hit by Typhoon Mangkhut, which pounded the northern Philippines on Saturday and left more than 80 people dead and 70 missing, mostly in landslides.

The mountain where Thursday's landslide occurred has limestone quarries and the rains may have loosened part of the mountainside.

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