Filipinos grieve as earthquake death toll rises


Filipinos grieve as earthquake death toll rises

Dozens of people were still missing Tuesday following a strong earthquake that triggered landslides and damaged buildings and roads on a central Philippine island. The death toll reached 22, but officials said it was likely to rise further as rescuers struggle to reach remote areas.

Adrian Sedillo, a disaster council officer in Negros Oriental province, said the death toll was likely to rise. There were reports of at least 14 more deaths, but the number will be added to the official count only after authorities verify that the bodies have been recovered, he said.

One of the dead not yet included in the count was a young woman whose body was dug out of a landslide in the mountain village of Solongon in La Libertad town. An unknown number of people were trapped there when a part of the mountain collapsed on about 100 houses.

Manila's ABS-CBN television showed footage of the woman's parents wailing at the landslide site after her body was retrieved late Tuesday by soldiers using shovels. The report said the woman had managed to send a text message to her relatives hours earlier telling them she was still alive and pleading for rescuers to hurry.

"We have no water and power because electric posts were toppled," Guihulngan Mayor Ernesto Reyes told The Associated Press by phone. "Many of our roads were damaged, including bridges, and stores are closed. We're isolated."

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