Holidays slow down burial of typhoon victims
MANILA, Philippines—The burial of more than 1,000 corpses in typhoon-ravaged Tacloban City was to have resumed Friday, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said, acknowledging that a shortage of technical personnel and the intervening holidays had slowed down the already slow process of identifying decomposing bodies.
NDRRMC executive director Eduardo del Rosario said that most government agencies had skeletal forces working through the holidays in areas hit hardest by Supertyphoon Yolanda such as Tacloban City.
“Of course, the work was somehow affected because of the holiday season, but there were continuing services,” Del Rosario said in a telephone interview.
Del Rosario said that the head of the Office of Civil Defense in Eastern Visayas met with teams from the National Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Health and Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez on Thursday to discuss the issue of so many corpses still unburied eight weeks after the typhoon struck last Nov. 8.
More than a thousand corpses have not yet been buried, raising complaints from residents of Tacloban who are also struggling to start anew amid the destruction.
As of Friday, the NDRRMC’s official death toll stood at 6,166. Of the figure, 2,507 were from Tacloban City alone.
“It was decided (last Thursday) that burying the dead will start today (Friday), and would be properly coordinated with the city government,” Del Rosario said.
Del Rosario echoed Malacanang’s explanation that with an undermanned staff, the NBI could process only a small number of bodies daily.
Del Rosario said the NBI has brought in more personnel to expedite the process of identification of the dead.
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