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Mountain village Guinsaugon disappeared by a mudslide

Leyte, February 17, 2006

Again the Philippines was hit by landslides. In Southern Leyte mudslides destroyed the mountain village (Barangay) Guinsaugon. During schooltime between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m., an elementary school was completely buried under the mud layer of up to 10 meters thickness. All the 246 children and the 7 teachers were buried in a few seconds. It is reported that only one child and one adult woman have been rescued.The total loss of lives in Guinsaugon and buried under the mud is estimated to be at least 1000.

        Mudslide on Southern Leyte in February 2006

           Location of the lost village AP

 

 

The disaster happened after ten days of heavy rainfall. The rainfall  dumped 27 inches of rain. Scientists but also  survivors said that not only the weather, but also illegal logging on land above the village contributed to the disaster.

         

A minor earthquake (magnitude 2.3 on the Richer scale) shook the area, but scientists said it took place after the landslide. Probably there wasn't any relation between the landslide and the earthquake.

Coconut trees don't give protection

Though the south eastern area of Leyte is forested with coconut trees, the disaster happened. The reason is that these trees have only shallow roots. On too steep parts of the hills or mountains, the coconut trees can be dislodged after heavy rains rather easy. This makes the land unstable. In such areas landslides always will be a potential danger after days of heavy rainfall.

 

 Victims and  rescue

Taking care for a victim

 

The village disappeared. Even rooftops couldn't be discovered after the mud and boulders did their cruel work. Only a 40 hectares of land is to be seen where once was the village of Guinsaugon with the school and 375 houses.

Pictures on this page AP

 

A survivor told:

"It sounded like the mountain exploded, and the whole thing crumbled......I could not see any house standing anymore".

 

 

 

          Rescue of a child

 

 Mudslide area on Leyte, February 17 2006

Worldbank ready to assist

Two days after the diasaster the worldbank offered assistance to the Philippine government to respond to the reconstruction of properties and communities and to detemine other appropriate forms of support.  Main goal of The World Bank is to assist in projects and programs of countries. The Philippines is one of these countries receiving World Bank assistance.

More information about the Worldbank in the Philippines:  

 

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