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Lest We Forget: 2006 Southern Leyte Landslide

Today marks the 16th anniversary of the deadly landslide which happened in Southern Leyte, a province in the Philippines. At around 10 in the morning, a rocky mudslide tumbled down the mountains – which devastatingly buried the whole Baranggay of Guinsa-ugon, located in the town of St. Bernard.

Aside from Guinsa-ugon, 15 other barangays were recorded by the Department of Social Welfare and Development, or DSWD, to be affected. An estimated of around 154 casualties were recorded, and almost 1,000 missing - feared to be buried alive. A local elementary school was among the infrastructures buried, together with 246 students.

According to Relief Web (2006), "The landslides had been triggered by more than two weeks of continuous heavy rainfall, estimated to be four times more than the normal recorded rainfall. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Philvolcs) also recorded a 2.6 magnitude earthquake which hit the southwestern portion of Southern Leyte around 10:36 a.m".

Immediately after the landslide, several local and international organizations extended their support for search and rescue operations. At the retrieval site, the dead bodies were placed in the village auditorium in an adjacent village, Bgy. Malibago, for identification. The residents of the community provided blankets to cover the bodies. Those who were identified were taken by relatives while those who could not be identified were buried in a mass grave in Bgy. Catmon cemetery. The LGU helped the victims of the families by providing funds for funeral services (NDRRMC, 2011).

In a 2011 recovery report released by the National Disaster Risk Reduction & Management Council, or the NDRRMC, "various levels of recovery have been achieved on various elements of recovery affecting the families and resettled communities. The elements with the highest recovery status rankings are those that pertain to the provision of community services and facilities such as health, education, recreation and infrastructure. The elements with the lowest recovery status rankings are livelihood opportunities and psychosocial services. There are some variations across the resettlement areas. While some communities consider their water supply services to have been completely recovered, others report that their water supply is among the least recovered elements."



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