Foreign teams join the search for survivors in Philippine

Foreign workers have joined the search for survivors and bodies following the landslide that engulfed a whole village in the Philippines on Friday.

Taiwanese and Malaysian rescuers, as well as US Marines, are now at the site in Guinsaugon village on Leyte island.

Seventy-two people have been confirmed dead, but about 1,000 residents are still believed to be missing.

Officials say the number of dead may be lower than thought, as about 400 people were away when the landslide hit.

Rescue efforts are concentrating on a buried school where about 200 pupils and 40 teachers are believed to have been trapped. The US marines and Taiwanese teams are using life-detecting sonar equipment in the search.

According to Lt Colonel Raul Farnacio, recovery teams have dug about halfway down to the building which was estimated to be buried in up to 35m (115 feet) of mud.

"There is no sign of life so far," he added. The government revised its figures of the number of dead to about 1,000, down from 1,800, based on a recent survey showing that Guinsaugon had a population of 1,420.

About 400 villagers were found to have been away from the area at the time of the landslide.

Many residents had left when the heavy rains began, fearing landslides. But some had returned as the weather improved, despite warnings.

But an official said the figures were still only estimates. Meanwhile, geologists who assessed the area from the air say the mountain surrounding the collapsed ridge is very unstable, reports BBC news.


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