Iligan needing more coffins

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ILIGAN CITY, Philippines—The local government here is mobilizing its employees and other volunteers to make coffins for the rising number of dead due to the destructive flood wrought by Tropical Storm “Sendong” over the weekend.

According to Iligan City information officer Melvin Anggot, the measure came up after a meeting of the crisis management committee Sunday during which the concern about keeping the dead was brought up.

Some 80 coffins were targeted for completion by Tuesday to cope with the demand.

Anggot added that the city government even helped procure and provided formaldehyde for embalming purposes.

As of Monday morning, the city social welfare and development office recorded a total of 279 deaths based on the number of bodies accounted for, and 230 persons still missing.

On Sunday, Mayor Lawrence Cruz called on the local government employees who were not badly hit by the flood to volunteer time for various relief actions.

The city was observing a Muslim holiday Monday.

The service capacities of four funeral parlors in the city have been heavily squeezed due to the high number of fatalities from the flood.

Even the biggest, Capin Funeral Homes, already begged off attending to the continuing stream of dead bodies recovered from various coastal areas in the city and nearby Misamis Oriental towns.

As of Sunday, around 30 more dead bodies were recovered off the coasts. Nineteen of the cadavers were transported from Laguindingan and Initao towns in Misamis Oriental.

Anggot said that of the total number of dead bodies found, 80 have yet to be identified, hence, not yet embalmed.

Already, local health officials have recommended mass burial of the bodies, which are already in advanced state of decomposition.

City health officer Levi Villarin told local radio RMN-dxIC that their personnel, along with experts from the Philippine National Police, were assessing the individual state of each of the cadavers in order to recommend which among these need immediate burial.

Villarin also said each cadaver will be duly profiled and documented.

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