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Death toll from Philippines landslide jumps to 68

landslide in maco, davao de oro
Police carry a body bag as search and rescue operations continue in the landslide-hit village of Masara, Maco, Davao de Oro, Philippines

The death toll from a landslide in the southern Philippines has climbed to 68 as officials said on Monday the window of finding more survivors is closing.

Rescuers were looking for 51 more people in the wake of the Feb. 6 landslide, which struck outside a gold mine in Maco town in Davao de Oro province and buried homes and vehicles that were supposed to ferry employees of the mining company.

Disaster authorities plan to shift their focus from search and rescue to search and retrieval beginning on Tuesday, Maco town disaster officer Ariel Capoy said.

Torrential rains have battered Davao de Oro in recent weeks, triggering floods and landslides, forcing many families to flee their homes.

The United States, through the U.S. Agency for International Development, was providing $1.25 million in humanitarian aid to the affected communities in the southern islands, its embassy in Manila said in a statement.

The U.S. Defense Department also provided two C-130 cargo planes to help deliver food packs in the affected communities.

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