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Healing starts for victims

/ 07:20 PM December 25, 2011

ILIGAN CITY—Lorebel Casillano survived the deluge that swept her family’s house in Bayug Island due to Tropical Storm “Sendong.”

The wounds inflicted on her legs and arms by the debris washed into the sea by raging floodwaters are now healed. But the psychological scars remain.

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At the height of the tragedy, Casillano was swept away by strong currents and tumbled several times as the floodwaters met the battering waves of Iligan Bay at the mouth of Mandulog river.

“No matter how comfortable the bed I sleep on, when I close my I eyes what I see is water,” said Casillano who has yet to see her 10-year-old son and a 2-year-old daughter.

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Since Thursday, groups like the Mindanao Emergency Relief Network (MERN) have been helping survivors cope with their tragic experiences.

Tina Lomoljo, executive director of the nongovernment Balay Integrated Rehabilitation for Total Human Development (Birth-Dev) Inc., said they have conducted at least three psychosocial support sessions among children.

Trauma

She said given the shortage of skilled facilitators, MERN is prioritizing children because they are the most vulnerable to psychological trauma arising from disasters.

Birth-Dev has four facilitators. On Friday, MERN trained a handful of volunteer facilitators who will hopefully increase its capacity to hold more of such sessions.

In Bayug island, families who lost their relatives to the flood were expected to gather yesterday in a clearing near a swathe of debris and mud where they believed their loved ones could have been buried.

They will light candles, eat together, and hope to move on.

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The stench of death still reeks in the area.

Rosito Buhion, 54,  frequents the area every day to look for his wife and 18 other members of his extended family who went missing from the flood.

So far, 21 decomposing bodies have been  recovered from the area by the  Army retrieval teams equipped with a K-9 dog.

The  waist-deep mud dumped into the area by the floodwaters and the debris are making  the recovery efforts difficult. Ryan D. Rosauro, Inquirer Mindanao

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TAGS: Bayug Island, counselling, Sendong, storm, trauma
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