Swept away to rooftops, running out of coffins in Cagayan De Oro | Inquirer News

Swept away to rooftops, running out of coffins in Cagayan De Oro

/ 01:31 AM December 18, 2011

Cely Asinero and her family had to climb to the roof of the two-story house owned by her brother because the floodwaters had reached about 30 feet deep in their area.

“It is the tallest house in the community, and we thought the flood would not reach it,” Asinero said. But when the floodwaters climbed to the second floor, she said, she and her family tore down part of the roof so they could get on top of it.

“We would have drowned if we did not do so. The sound of the floodwater was so loud we did not have time to react,” she said.


When they reached the roof, Asinero and her family tied themselves together with bed sheets so they would not be swept away.


In Barangay Tambo by the banks of the Cagayan de Oro River, 29-year-old Roman Pino became deeply worried when the floodwaters continued to rise midnight of Friday.

“By 1 a.m., the water was so deep, 15 feet, that we had to climb to the roof of our house,” Pino said.

By then the lights had gone out. “It was pitch black all around us,” he said.

It made their climb to the roof doubly difficult, with his wife, their two children and himself trying to make do with a small flashlight.

They are the lucky ones.

The sheer number of the dead was so overwhelming that funeral parlors could not immediately cope.


Funeral homes packed

At Somo Memorial Homes, 50 bodies arrived in a matter of hours, but embalming could not begin as of late Saturday due to lack of running water, according to the manager, Ryan Somo. The power outage since late Friday had crippled Cayagan de Oro’s water distribution system.

Somo said he was worried that the untreated corpses would start decomposing and pose more health problems.

At another funeral parlor, one of the workers said they would likely run out of coffins. “We might just settle for coffins made of softwoods and plywood. It will be up to the relatives of the dead,” a worker named Brando said.

Pino said his family’s determination and faith in God had helped them stay alive.

“We prayed hard that we will be spared,” he said. “We were only able to come down from the roof at about 6 a.m. on Saturday, when the floodwaters started receding.”

Still chilled from the cold, Pino said he was thankful their lives were spared. But he was grim-faced as he recalled the sight of dead bodies scattered all over the community,

He said it was the worst flood to hit the barangay since the January 2009 deluge.

A woman, who asked not to be named, told a radio station on Saturday that she and a number of other people desperately clung to the interior of a tire on Friday night in an effort to save themselves.

But the current was so strong they were swept 32 kilometers away, to a beach in Balingasag, Misamis Oriental, she said.

“It was my worst nightmare,” she said.

Senior Insp. Elmer Decena of the Regional Public Safety Battalion recalled seeing people being swept away as he and his team of 12 plucked out others from the floodwaters, one after another, using only two rubber boats.

Decena’s team was among the 15 rescue teams—each with rubber boats—deployed by the Northern Mindanao police.

City Councilor President Elipe said the floods were worsened by the loss of forest cover due to illegal logging in upland barangays.

“The worst is yet to come if this will not stop,” he warned. Reports from JB R. Deveza and Bobby Lagsa, Inquirer Mindanao

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

First posted 12:23 am | Sunday, December 18th, 2011

TAGS: Weather

© Copyright 1997-2024 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.