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Cebu officials sending mobile morgue, aid for flood victims

/ 07:32 AM December 20, 2011

Material and cash assistance are being sent by Cebu City Hall, the Capitol and the Police Regional Office for the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan, which were struck hardest by Tropical Storm Sendong over the weekend.

Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama said they will send a mobile morgue via Philippine Span Asia Carrier Corp. to help identify the unclaimed remains of the flooding victims fished from the seawaters of neighboring provinces.

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The mobile morgue was donated by Interpol through its Disaster Victims Identification (DVI) unit to the National Bureau of Investigation to identify victims of the 2008 sinking of the Princess of the Stars.

Rama said Iligan and Cagayan de Oro officials told him over the phone that their biggest problem lies in disposing of the dead since their funeral parlors are overflowing with unclaimed remains.

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“In the funeral parlors the bodies are piled on top of the other. The smell in due time will already be beyond anybody’s imagination,” the mayor said.

Rama said he has yet to determine if they will send coffins to the two cities.

The mayor met with city disaster personnel yesterday morning to evaluate the city’s assistance to the two cities and neighboring areas in Central Visayas that were ravaged by Sendong.

Rama said Cagayan de Oro and Iligan officials also asked for bottled mineral water, relief and canned goods for the victims.

He will also send quick response teams to assist in the relief and recovery efforts.

Rama said the city government tied up with Abag Cagayan-Iligan, a group formed by JCI, the Cebu Association of City and Municipal Public Information Officers and McDonald’s for their relief campaign.

Relief and food donations can also be given at any McDonald’s stores in Cebu City and at the Mayor’s office at Cebu City hall.

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City Information Officer Carlo Dugaduga said they scheduled a turnover of donations to the affected local government units on Dec. 23 and 30 respectively.

More funds may be sent later depending on how much the city government and its private sector partners would be able to raise from a benefit concert that they would organize with Cebuano bands on Dec. 30.

Rama said he will ask the City Council to hold a special session so they could pass a resolution authorizing the release of financial assistance.

The mayor said he plans to send P3 million to be sourced from the city’s P11-million unused calamity funds.

In an interview in Medellin town, Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia said she asked shipping line owner Bob Gothong to deliver bottled water and relief goods to Sendong victims in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan through his vessels. The Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7) is canceling its Christmas party today.

Supt. Marcelo Garbo, chief of Police Regional Office (PRO-7), said they decided to donate the budget of the party to the typhoon victims of Typhoon Sendong in Mindanao and Negros Oriental. Edison A. Delos Angeles with Carmel Loise Matus and Chito Aragon, Correspondents

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TAGS: cash assistance, Tropical storm Sendong
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