‘Pablo’ death toll may reach 1,000, say authorities


Residents affected by typhoon Pablo (Bopha) crowd as relief goods are distributed at New Bataan, Compostela Valley, on Sunday Dec. 9, 2012. Authorities fear that the death toll due to typhoon Pablo could reach 1,000 as almost 600 bodies have been recovered in the two hardest-hit Mindanao provinces. AP PHOTO/BULLIT MARQUEZ

TAGUM CITY, Philippines—Authorities fear that the death toll due to typhoon Pablo (international codename: Bopha) could reach 1,000 as almost 600 bodies have been recovered in the two hardest-hit Mindanao provinces.

The stench of rotting bodies have become unbearable, prompting rescuers to immediately bury the bodies after they were found, said Capt. Raul Villegas, of the Army’s 10th Infantry Division, based in Mawab town, in Compostela Valley.

“We are still hoping we can find survivors,” Villegas said on Sunday. “But the chance (of finding anyone alive) is getting thinner by the hour.”

Search operations on the fifth day after the disaster were concentrated in the devastated town of New Bataan, where sniffer dogs have been deployed to lead teams from police, Army and rescue groups to bodies buried under fallen trees or thick mud that enveloped a large swathe of the desolate town.

At least 316 bodies have been found in Compostela Valley, 165 of them in New Bataan alone. The death toll there included four soldiers belonging to the Charlie Company of the Army’s 66th Infantry Battalion, said Villegas.

At least 441 people are still missing in New Bataan, and 20 others in other areas of the 11-town Compostela Valley.

Villegas said Davao Oriental has recorded 276 dead, including 122 in Baganga and 103 in Cateel municipalities. About 61 persons are still missing in that province.

Villegas said search operations would not be stopped, “’til we can.”

He said identification of the bodies has been a problem due to the heavy stench.

“The bodies are buried immediately with the consent of the relatives,” the military official said.

In Cateel, Davao Oriental, boys and girls are either just loitering aimlessly on the streets, helping their parents in the many tasks at hand, or are begging for food.

Darryl Blatchley, a member of a religious ministry in Davao city, who arrived with a jeepney loaded with relief goods, was overwhelmed with what he saw in the town.

“The villagers badly need food and we have yet to go to remote areas where people are in great need. It’s so sad that help has not reached to their area yet,” he said.

Due to the lack of resources, some villagers opted to bury their dead relatives in the lot where their houses once stood.

“Several of our neighbors had no choice. They do not have money to have a decent burial for the dead,” said Jerry Terio, 40, who has been helping his brother-in-law, who lost his parents and several other family members.

Liza Ayeng, 43, expressed her frustration over the fact that help from the government has not arrived.

“We have asked local politicians for help, but they just told us they have nothing to give,” Ayeng said.

Residents in Baganga town have also complained that they have not received relief goods from the government. They said relief goods were poured in Cateel, the hometown of Governor Corazon Malanyaon.

Leonor Escodillo said she had to leave Baganga for Mati City because they were getting hungrier by the day.

“Walang dumating na relief galing sa gobyerno. Mabuti pa ang GMA 7 nagbigay (No relief goods came from the government. It’s a good thing GMA 7 (television network) gave,” said Escodillo, who was with her one-year-old son on a bus to Mati City to live with her sister.

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  • 12JEM

    It is very sad that after so many days the National Government has not gotten itself organized in order to deal with the present situation.  It seems the simple thing of having affected people not going hungry is not being addressed.

    Puntahang lahat ang Pres. VP, almost all secretaries pero umalis na walang system on the ground para huwag magutom ang mga tao.

    Nagpapalimos na lang.

  • Ommm

    ” They said relief goods were poured in Cateel, the hometown of Governor Corazon Malanyaon.”

    Yet the people in other towns were left to starve….its’ difficult to believe a politician would govern as such a savage in this day and age. This man should not only never be elected again but should rot in a jail cell!

  • opinyonlangpo

    Too bad and too sad that despite of yearly disasters, the government is not ready to face the requirements of quick response rescue  of this magnitude. There are lots of resources like the army, the dedicated NDRRMC and other agencies in addition to local units. The resources and logistics are in place but those in charge seem to have gotten their positions through connections and not because they are qualified for their jobs. Critical positions like this should be handled by experts and qualified professionals.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/UR6AKMU2J2D4GOPDU4QMRZDB7Q felipe

      a rejoinder–and may I ask, where is the church ? we hear a lot about its charitable programs but I don’t hear from the mediia or the church of any help; all I’ve  read  is  prayers !!! what about the needs in times like this, food, shelter. medical attention etc…and yet the church keeps on sticking its fingers in the governments programs  to alleviate the population explosion …its common sense that less people = less loses of human lives & sufferings in times of calamities & disasters ……

      • opinyonlangpo

        Probably busy collecting and praying for more donations to come to the church.. One bishop seemed to have invoked the wrath of God to cause this disaster, the de-vil’s name is Pabillo, saying it is a punishment for being pro-RH Bill. 

      • rinom

        alam po ninyo etong mga churches sa America mas nauuna pang dumarating upang tumulong kaysa sa mga taong gobeyerno. aywan ko lang ngayon, dahil ang mga calamities po ngayon ay nag increase ng 400 percent sa loob ng 10 taon sa buong daigdig. 400 times po in frequency and magnitude, isa na diyan lindol.

  • buttones

    “He said identification of the bodies has been a problem due to the heavy stench.

    “The bodies are buried immediately with the consent of the relatives,” the military official said.

    That is illogical, it’s inane, if the body cannot be identified how can the relatives give consent when the body cannot be identified? Typical military thinking- or not…

  • batangsulpok

    Nasaan ang mga local officials tulad ng Governor, Vice-Governor, Board Members, Mayors, Vice-Mayors, Councilors at Barangay Captains, di ba sila namamasyal o nag-iikot sa kanilang mga nasasakupan?  Kung itong mga opisyal na ito ay umiikot sa kanilang lugar, siguradong alam nila kung anong itsura pero lagi sigurong nasa opisina lang at busy sa pangungurakot kaya pag may mangyaring ganito ay clueless sila o walang alam.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Psiitoon-Charoenkrung/100001362990665 Psiitoon Charoenkrung

    This is what I’ve been saying that the death toll may exceed that of CDO flood.  Its just un-acceptable that even with ample warning many people still died.  What was the local authorities doing after the warning that it will be a strong typhoon.  Were they sleeping in their nice cozy beds while people were dying?  We want to see the result of the investigation and punish the guilty whoever they are.  And where is the billions of pesos for the calamity.  Why is it that people are still hungry?  They already have lost everything and the local government is still dilly dullying in giving food to the hungry.  Any authorities found hoarding the relief goods for their own selfish interests or needs should be identified and should face the firing squad for crimes against humanity

  • Your_King

    As the death toll rises, Aquino’s actions get less and less, and at the same time his excuses increase and increase. Instead of doing more to help these victims Aquino would rather campaign for his cousin Bam and begin celebrating Christmas. Christmas is fun. However, Aquino maybe forgets that he is the President and expected to help the poor and victims of the typhoon.

  • kilabot

    when noykapon says zero casualty it really means 1000 dead; 
    that’s the new normal.

  • Jaelsimone

    Civil defense chief and his staff for the nation? And if there is what are you doing? Jump to organnizzare disaster.
     1) The first thing to do for families, tends to campig to sleep there are no
     2) search for local governments is not possible, they can not manage their city is much less able to handle such a disaster.
     3) Organization painful, find store to collect food to distribute, store for medicines, clothing warehouse, where are they? Distribution behind food trucks that distribute bags of food thrown into the crowd.
    Government to review everything does not work nearly nothing.

  • Jaelsimone

    Force Vatican sends aid are the Vatican state richest in the world sending money to help the poor, only words words words, you do the facts. Ratzinger equal to Merkel. What do you fear the rising spred

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