Continue search, relatives of landslide victims ask gov’t
TIWI, Albay — Relatives of people still missing in landslides that hit this town on Dec. 29 and 30 have appealed to authorities to continue with the retrieval operations, saying they wanted to give their kin a decent burial.
Bartolomia Clavecillas, 63, a resident of Barangay Maynonong, said they felt helpless when authorities stopped the retrieval operations nine days after the landslide hit.
Heavy rains dumped by Tropical Depression “Usman” triggered floods and landslides in provinces in the Visayas and Southern Tagalog and Bicol regions on Dec. 29 and 30.
“I have three relatives who are still missing. We are dying to see them,” Clavecillas said.
Mayor Jaime Villanueva said 15 bodies had been recovered in landslide-hit areas in Tiwi while six remained missing.
Cedric Daep, chief of the Albay Public Safety and Emergency Management Office, said 248 families (990 people) were still staying in evacuation centers in Tiwi as of Tuesday.
Merilda Competente, 50, whose family had been staying at Naga High School, said it was hard leaving their homes.
“This is the hardest part. By the time we get adjusted [to life in this evacuation center], we have to transfer to another [location] because students will use the classrooms,” she said.
Comptente was grateful for the donations they were receiving, but said what they really needed most was a permanent relocation.
“We want to secure our lives; we can’t go back anymore to our old houses because it is risky. Anytime, landslide may happen,” said Melchor Celding, 54, another evacuee.
Congestion in temporary shelters had also resulted in sickness among evacuees, especially children.
“Most of the children were suffering from upper respiratory tract infections and fever,” said Sharon Belo, one of the nurses monitoring the health needs of evacuees in Tiwi. —MICHAEL JAUCIAN
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