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Philippines halts quarry operations after deadly landslide

The landslide, one of several incidents from September 15 to 20 in the country, was triggered by heavy rains early morning on Thursday, burying around two dozen houses and the people inside.

Published: 21st September 2018 04:32 PM  |   Last Updated: 21st September 2018 04:32 PM   |  A+A-

Philippines Landslides

Rescuers conduct search operations after a landslide struck a village in Naga city, Cebu province central Philippines on Sept. 20, 2018. (Photo | AP)

By UNI

MANILA: The Philippines on Friday temporarily suspended all quarrying operations in seven regions following a landslide near a limestone quarry that killed at least 29 people, with dozens more feared trapped under the rubble.

As search, rescue and retrieval operations continued at the landslide site in Naga City on the central island of Cebu, Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Roy Cimatu announced the 15-day suspension pending safety assessments at other quarrying areas.

ALSO READ | Landslide kills 21 in the Philippines, dozens feared trapped

The landslide, one of several incidents from September 15 to 20 in the country, was triggered by heavy rains early morning on Thursday, burying around two dozen houses and the people inside.

Authorities put the death toll at 29 as of Friday, with rescuers still digging for possibly more than 50 people believed to have been buried alive.

"It could also happen in other quarries all over the country," Cimatu said during a media briefing in Naga City.

"I ordered the review and assessment of all quarry operations all over the country to determine the safety of the quarry operations.

" He ordered the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), the state regulator for mining and quarrying industries, to conduct the safety assessments specifically in seven regions where large quarry operations are located.

MGB Director Wilfredo Moncano told Reuters he expects the impact of the suspension on the industry's output to be "minimal", without giving any estimate.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte repeated his call on Monday to shut all mines in the country following deadly landslides triggered by heavy rains caused by Typhoon Mangkhut, which struck the country on September 15.

ALSO READ | Philippines Landslide: Death toll at 22, more fear trapped

Cimatu also ordered a halt to all small-scale mining in the mountainous, gold-rich Cordillera region, where most of the landslides occurred, and ordered a review of more than 100 proposals for small-scale mining sites across the country.

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