Mass burial today

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President Aquino visits damaged areas as casualties reach 957.

CDO sendong aftermath

Sendong Aftermath

Sendong Aftermath

Sendong Aftermath

MANILA, Philippines – Local officials of Iligan City said it is pushing through with its planned mass burial at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2011, after postponing the event late Monday.

The cities of Iligan and Cagayan de Oro awere among the areas hardest hit by floods from “Sendong” last weekend.
Hindi tinuloy (kahapon) kasi medyo basa ang semento (We did not push through with the mass burial Monday because the cement used in building the graves was not yet dry),” Iligan City public information officer Melvin Anggot said in a radio interview on dzBB.
Anggot said the bodies would be buried individually as he allayed concerns of the Department of Health against dumping the bodies in just one grave. He gave assurances the procedure would be supervised by a health officer.
He also said that out of some 120 unclaimed bodies, they would prioritize only 100 bodies that had been identified. When asked if the 20 unidentified bodies would not yet be buried for now, he said “oo (yes).”

Death toll is now at 957, with at least 49 still missing, according to the government’s official count as of 6 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2011. The head of the disaster committee says he’s lost count of the missing, but adds he expects the number to increase.

This is the grim picture that awaits President Benigno Aquino III as he visits the affected areas on Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2011.

One of two cities considering a mass burial for residents who died in the wake of floods brought by tropical storm “Sendong” (Washi) has shelved the idea, at least for now.
Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Vicente Emano on Tuesday cited “legal implications” that prompted him to back out of the mass burial plan at this time.
“Because of the legal implications, I have decided not to push through with it. We need to finish (the processing of papers). We’ll just follow the law,” he said in a separate dzBB interview.
He said that while the families of the dead had posed no objection, he was told he may face charges if he had the bodies buried before the bodies were processed for identification.
The process would include the taking of data such as DNA and dental records before the bodies could be buried, he said.

Some 1,582 had been reported injured while 432 were rescued, said the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

Also, the NDRRMC said “Sendong” had affected 63,079 families or 338,415 people in 260 villages in 30 towns and eight cities in 13 provinces.

Of these, 9,743 families or 42,733 people are being served in 62 evacuation centers.

Damage to property was estimated at P1,936,415, including P1,551,400 in agriculture in Caraga, and P385,015 in Bicol.

Several school buildings in Regions 11, 12 and Caraga were damaged, including:

– Agusan del Sur: Gomburza Elementary School, Sta. Cruz Elementary School, Sta. Irene Elementary School, D. Osmeña Elementary School.
– Cagayan de Oro City: Consolacion Elementary School, Angeles Sisters National High School, Balulang West 1 Elementary School and Bonbon North 2 Elementary School
– Lanao del Sur: Sambolawan Elementary School, Dilabayan Elementary School and Riric Elementary School in Taraka; Batangan Central Elementary School, Rogero Elementary School, Alambas preschool in Bubong II

“(The Department of Education) implements automatic suspension of classes during inclement weather to all badly affected schools … until further notice,” the NDRRMC said.

At least six road sections in Cordillera and Caraga; and seven bridges in Central Visayas and Regions 10 and 11 were damaged.

“Sendong” is considered the world’s deadliest storm in 2011.

American meteorologist Dr. Jeff Masters, in his Weather Underground report, said on Monday, Dec. 19, 2011, that Brazil had the biggest number of casualties from floods in 2011, when 902 died in January from a storm.

But “Sendong,” as of Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2011, already threatened to breach the 1,000 mark in casualties.

Experts have blamed the region’s denuded forests for the flash floods.

Government and aid agencies are appealing for help for both the living and the dead. The biggest problem remains the lack of drinking water.  Govt said 88,000 people are in packed, make-shift evacuation centers.  Aid agencies are bringing in food and water and asking for more.  The government began burying unidentified bodies in mass graves Tuesday afternoon.  Cities are running out of coffins, body bags and formaldehyde for embalming the dead. –

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