Monument marks 20th year of Ormoc flashflood tragedy

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ORMOC CITY, Philippines—A monument set atop the mass grave of the victims of the Ormoc flashflood was inaugurated Saturday during the commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the tragic event.

The monument was built to honor the victims of the tragedy that occurred November 5, 1991 and took nearly 8,000 lives, said Ormoc City Mayor Eric Codilla. However, only an estimated 4,900 victims were buried at the mass grave at the Ormoc City public cemetery.

The marker depicts the life taken to heaven whose face is abstract, since “a dead person turns (to) soul, (with no) no physical identity,” said sculptor Francis Cinco of Calbayog, Samar.

Codilla explained that the monument was built to honor the victims of the flashflood, which was triggered by Typhoon “Oreng” and reaped global sympathy.

As part of the commemoration, more than 2,000 Ormocanons joined a procession at 7 a.m. Saturday that started at the Ormoc New City Hall, passed through the Anilao River and ended at the public cemetery.

Two decades ago, the Ormoc River overflowed, bringing with it numerous logs, resulting in a flashflood in the city’s lower areas that killed thousands and destroyed millions in property.

A Mass was held at the mass grave, followed by the blessing and inauguration of the mass grave monument and an offering of flowers.

Only a few of the victims’ families joined the inauguration since All Saints’ Day had just passed.

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