Swallowed By the Earth

The people of Guinsaugon thought they were safe. After two weeks of heavy storms dumped more than 50 cm of rain on the southern end of the Philippine island of Leyte, causing minor landslides in a nearby town, the sun had finally come out. Many villagers who had temporarily evacuated the area for fear of further slides returned home. But last Friday, at around 10 a.m., the rain-saturated mountain above Guinsaugon suddenly collapsed, engulfing the small farming village and its inhabitants in a thick river of mud, boulders and torn trees.

Every building in Guinsaugon—including an elementary...

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