Death toll in Philippines earthquake rises to 39

The death toll is expected to rise as hopes of recovering more people alive are fading even as about 2,000 soldiers intensify search operations.

Last Updated: Feb 11, 2012, 00:16 AM IST

Manila: The death toll from a strong quake
this week in the central Philippines rose to 39 on Friday, with
dozens of missing feared dead, a disaster official said.

Rescuers recovered five bodies in the landslide-hit
central island of Negros four days after it was rattled by a
6.7-magnitude quake that flattened homes, destroyed bridges
and crumbled mountainsides.

The bodies were recovered from Guihulngan city and the
nearby town of La Libertad, some of the worst affected areas
engulfed by landslides.

"We`re still looking for 66 people," National Disaster
Risk Reduction and Management Council chief Benito Ramos said as he updated the official death toll to 39.

Most of the missing are feared buried in landslides, he
said. The death toll is expected to rise as hopes of
recovering more people alive are fading even as about 2,000
soldiers intensify search operations.

The disaster council said it is providing food and other
assistance to more than 88,000 quake survivors, including most
of the 33,000 who have lost their homes and taken shelter at
government-run evacuation centres.

PTI