One hundred more people are feared buried in a landslide triggered by the 6.9-magnitude earthquake in Negros Oriental, which may cause casualties to increase, a civil defense official said Tuesday.

Minda Morante, director of the Office of Civil Defense 7, said the landslide in Brgy. Solongon, La Libertad, covered more than 40 houses and people living nearby could only give estimates.

“Nag-eestimate sila ng 100 persons ‘yung natabunan,” Morante told reporters in a phone interview.

The official, however, said they still do not consider the figure “official” as the earthquake happened at a time when residents are usually out of their homes for work.

48 dead, military says

Colonel Francisco Zosimo Patrimonio, commander of the Army’s 302nd Brigade, said fatalities, mostly caused by the landslide in La Libertad and Brgy. Planas, Guihulngan City, yesterday increased to 48.

In Brgy. Planas, 29 houses with 30 persons are still buried while in Brgy Solongon, La Libertad 60 houses with 42 persons remain under the rubble, Patrimonio said in a text message, citing field reports.

Helicopters conducted an aerial surveillance Tuesday to give authorities a clear picture of the landslides’ magnitude, Morante said.

Food shortage felt

Meanwhile, the regional civil defense chief said a food shortage is being experienced in Guihulngan City as big stores and markets remain closed amid continuing aftershocks.

“Problema talaga ang pagkain, isa yun, dahil hindi nagbukas ang mga tindahan. Takot sila, ‘yun ang problema natin,” she said.

“Marami rin sigurong nasira sa mga paninda nila so hindi sila nag-open ngayon, especially ngayong pagyanig eh napapadalas.”

Delivery of supplies are also being hampered as only light vehicles are allowed to pass damaged bridges and roads, she said.

‘Tent city’

Aftershocks, including a “strong one” that occurred Tuesday afternoon, have also forced residents not to return to their homes and stay in tents, according to Morante.

“Nag-tent city ‘yung mga tao kasi ayaw nila bumalik sa mga bahay nila, dahil nga sa takot. Kahit pa i-convince natin sila dahil yun yung naramdaman nila, mahirap pilitin,” she said.

There was still no electricity in Guihulngan City and some areas of La Libertad as of Tuesday noon, she added. (John Roson)

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