Govt to stop search for 'Sendong' victims if negative results continue
Government may stop searching for victims of Tropical Storm Sendong — which devastated Northern Mindanao on Dec. 16 — should the efforts continue to yield negative results, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said Monday.
Sendong survivors in CDO asked to leave tent city due to deteriorating conditions. 'Sendong' flood survivors who have taken temporary shelter at the capitol grounds were given notice by the provincial government to leave the premises by Jan 7. People who frequent the place complain of foul odor that now pervades in the area. Gerry Gorit
“The retrieval operations are still ongoing and it will take about one more week …But if [within the week] we recover one, that’s another one week,” said NDRRMC executive director and Office of Civil Defense administrator Benito Ramos.
The latest body that was found and recovered was on Saturday, Dec. 31, in Iligan City’s Barangay Bayug, said Ramos.
Official data showed that death toll from “Sendong” now stands at 1,258. Many are still believed missing but government officials declined to give an estimate of those still missing to avoid confusion in tallying the number of fatalities, saying that hundreds of retrieved bodies remain unidentified.
The search and retrieval operations by the Navy, Army and Coast Guard are ongoing as people in the calamity-stricken cities of Northern Mindanao continue to appeal for government to find their missing relatives.
“Our conscience will bother us if we ignore them,” Ramos said.
Workers in search and retrieval teams are far from getting tired, the Civil Defense chief noted, saying that rotation of duties has been worked out with more people involved in the operations. “We now have new faces from the Navy, Coast Guard and Army,” he said.
The operations are concentrated in the sea as well as mud-covered areas and where timber logs have rolled over. Government believes that many victims have been pinned down underneath the logs.
“Our retrieval operations and relief operations are continuing. But the relief operations may take a longer [time]... Until [people in temporary shelters] are brought to a permanent relocation area, we are going to sustain them in evacuation centers,” said Ramos.
“Sendong” dumped massive rains over Mindanao and the Visayas, spawning the worst calamity to hit the country since 1991 when Ormoc City in Leyte province suffered flooding and landslides that killed 5,000 people. — VS/KG, GMA News