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Philippines landslide: Death toll rises to 68 in Davao de Oro

Search and rescue operations continue following a landslide in the village of Masara, Maco, Davao de Oro, Philippines,
The landslide tore through the village of Masara in the southern Philippines

At least 68 people are now known to have died after a landslide swept through a goldmining village in the Philippines almost a week ago.

Officials say there are still 51 people missing following Tuesday's disaster in Davao de Oro province, but rescue workers admit there is little hope of finding any more survivors.

A three-year-old girl was the last person pulled alive from the mud.

Her rescue - after more than 60 hours buried - was described as "a miracle".

Edward Macapili, a disaster agency official of the Davao de Oro province, said at the time it have given "hope to the rescuers".

But on Monday, those hopes appeared to have faded.

"It is almost a week after the incident and... we are assuming that no one is alive there," Mr Macapili told AFP news agency. "There is already a foul smell in the area now so there's a need to fast-track the retrieval."

The landslide struck Tuesday night, destroying 55 homes and engulfing three buses and a jeepney - a type of minibus - waiting to pick up workers from the gold mine. Lea Anora, a unit member of the Management of the Dead and the Missing (MDM), told ABS-CBN News that the death toll so far included 42 residents and 26 mining employees.

More than 30 people were injured.

Landslides are a frequent hazard across much of the Philippines because of the mountainous terrain, heavy rainfall, and widespread deforestation from mining and illegal logging.

Heavy monsoon rains have pounded parts of Mindanao on and off for weeks, causing landslides and flooding that have forced tens of thousands of people into emergency shelters.

The area has also been hit by a series of earthquakes, including on Saturday when rescuers were forced to pause their operations due to a magnitude 5.9 earthquake.