Authorities end retrieval ops for earthquake victims in Magsaysay, Davao del Sur

Marje Pelayo

DAVAO DEL SUR, Philippines – Disaster authorities have decided to end the search and retrieval operations for earthquake victims in the town of Magsaysay.

According to the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) Region XI, experts from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) and the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) declared that the situation on the ground has become risky for rescuers thus they opted to stop the operation.

“There is no way to conduct retrieval operations in the area for those three missing individuals considering that the area has become very dangerous for the conduct of the operation,” explained OCD XI Operations Head Francis Irag in his local dialect.

“Up until now, soil quality is already poor aside from small aftershocks that are being experienced in the area so we need to consider the safety of our responders,” he added.

The official said they have already talked to the victims’ kin about their decision.

“We make them understand that there is no way to recover the remains of their loved ones because the ground situation in the area has become dangerous,” Irag said.

“The site is now their resting area. They accepted the fact with ease,” he added.

Meanwhile, authorities are now planning as to where, how, and when they would start the recovery program for residents hard-hit by the earthquakes.

Based on records acquired by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), more than 22,000 structures including houses, schools and hospitals in Region XI were damaged by the tremors.

“Initially, one of our activities is we already have conducted site validation and assessment in proposed relocation sites Magsaysay and the Magsaysay Municipali office already have at least 10 relocation sites and validation is underway,” Irag assured.

On Saturday (November 23), all concerned agencies and local government units in the region will hold a response committee meeting to discuss the recovery plan for municipalities affected by the earthquakes. — MNP (with reports from Janice Ingente)

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