[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Saturday, 18 February 2006, 09:47 GMT
Rescue manager: 'We need help'
Vitto Tomol
Vitto Tomol says the rescue effort is hampered by rain and bad light
Hopes are fading for the people feared buried by Friday's devastating landslide on Leyte island.

The BBC News website spoke to Vitto Tomol, a local government worker at the heart of efforts to co-ordinate the rescue from the provincial capital.

The mayor of St Bernard is getting desperate because it has been more than a day since the tragedy.

We are working non-stop and co-ordinating the rescue remotely, from the provincial capital, Maasin city.

But the rescue effort has been hampered by rain and darkness because the power in the area is out.

We have been accepting donations from all over the place. Different mountaineering groups from all over the country have been sent to help the recovery efforts. But we still need more help.

Immediate needs

We estimate that around 3,000 people will be displaced as a result of this landslide and our first priority is to make sure they survive. Our most immediate need is bottled water, 32,000 litres for now, as well as canned food for evacuees and survivors.

Because of the body count everyone is quite subdued at the co-ordination centre
St Bernard, the town closest to the disaster site, is a rice granary so there is no shortage of grain.

We have three evacuation centres ready but we are preparing a list that also includes basic items such as soap and clothing. Many of these people will have nothing left.

Many of the survivors are in the hospital and they are being provided with counselling. Since we are in the process of recovering bodies, our social welfare is co-ordinating the distribution of goods to ensure nobody goes hungry for the duration of this tragedy.

'Everyone subdued'

The figures are not encouraging. Guinsaugon village had 321 families which made up a population of 1,593. From the area around the landslide there are 635 confirmed survivors but these were people who lived at the edges of the area.

So far, there are only 57 people rescued from the landside. Twenty of those are hospitalised.

Because of the body count everyone is quite subdued here at the co-ordination centre. We don't want to talk about things. We just want to get on with work.

The hospital ran out of some medical supplies so I went downtown to buy some more, and even there, people were shaking their heads, deeply saddened. This could be one of our worst tragedies.

Many people have volunteered to help with rescue co-ordination. We work quietly hoping there are more survivors to help.

Are you from the area affected? Send us your comments and a contact phone number using the form below.

You can send any footage or pictures you may have to yourpics@bbc.co.uk

Email address:
Town and Country:
Phone number (optional):

The BBC may edit your comments and cannot guarantee that all emails will be published.


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific