He does not know how to tell the kids their mother is dead
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY—Zim Doromal does not know how to tell his two boys—5-year-old Kenth Jezald and 3-year-old Kim Anthony—that their mother, Ann, had died for two other children, none her own.
Zim, 32, a farmer from Malitbog, Bukidnon, is the husband of Ann, 26, one of two nannies who drowned with their two wards, aged 1 and 2, when floodwaters rose 20 feet.
He was told that the body of Ann was found in the living room of her employer’s house. She was clutching one of her wards.
The other nanny and Ann’s cousin, Julita Abao, was holding on to the other ward.
“We used to cross raging rivers for amusement,” Zim said.
“If they had left the children, I am certain they would have survived,” he said. “But I know they could never leave the children. That is their job.”
Zim said that when he received word of their deaths, he left on borrowed motorcycle at midnight on Saturday with relatives to Cagayan de Oro City, some 30 kilometers away.
Doromal said he still had not slept. He scoured five funeral homes, gazing at rows upon rows of the dead using flashlights and candles. It was past 3 a.m.
On Sunday morning, he found himself at Bollozo’s Funeral Homes where Ann, he was told, was brought. At Divine Shepherd Memorial Chapels, the two wards and their grandmother, and Abao were brought by relatives of his wife’s employers.
“Now I must go home and tell my two children,” he said.
Along a corridor leading to the first floor auditorium of City Central School, another man clutches the hand of a daughter while gently patting another to sleep.
The family is on the floor by the wall. More than a thousand others in like circumstances lie around them on cardboard provided by the city government for sleeping.
A few bags of relief goods lie with them. A bunch of Cavendish bananas.
Nothing more. All were given on the same day.
Rafael Oblimar, 46, a single parent, said he had saved nothing of their belongings. “The floodwaters rose so fast that I had only time to grab my two daughters,” the tricycle and taxi driver, said.
Oblimar, whose two daughters—Charity, 7, and Angel, 6—are in kindergarten, said he would have lost the younger if not for two rescuers who grabbed her when she slipped from his grip while crossing the floodwaters.
“I could not imagine what would have happened if the two rescuers were not there to save her,” Oblimar said.
But he does not mind having to start from scratch.
“They both are here, alive,” he said. “I thank God for that.”
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