Palace looks into case of 1,400 corpses
THE Palace will ask concerned agencies to explain reports that at least 1,400 bodies have yet to be buried in Tacloban, seven weeks after Central and Eastern Visayas were battered by super typhoon Yolanda.
Residents have complained that the cadavers, sealed in black body bags, have turned an open field in the village of San Isidro into a “fly factory,” local village chief Eutiquio Balunan said.
“We will ask our agencies to explain,” Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma said.
“Maybe we also need to verify the report, get to the bottom of this, and ask for a wider explanation because there are agencies that are assigned for such things,” added Coloma when told that residents in
Tacloban felt that the people who were supposed to take care of the cadavers went on holiday leave and simply left the bodies to rot.
Coloma said the Health and the Interior and Local Government departments are the ones responsible for taking care of those killed by the super typhoon.
“Maybe it is taking a while to bury all of the deceased because of the sheer number of fatalities,” the Palace official said.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said super typhoon Yolanda killed 6,155 people and left 1,785 others missing.
The World Health Organization discouraged local government officials from holding mass burials for Yolanda victims.
According to the WHO Technical Note for Emergencies, “burials in common graves and mass cremations are rarely warranted and should be avoided.”
WHO said burying the dead while failing to correctly identify the body will result in more psychological trauma for the survivors.
The group also backed up an earlier statement of the Health Department that corpses do not pose a risk of communicable disease if they remain unburied.
The WHO said cadavers only pose risks if these contaminate streams, wells, or other water sources.
In its latest report, the NDRRMC said at least 3,424,593 families or 16,078,181 people in 12,139 villages in 44 provinces were affected, while 890,895 families or 4,095,280 people were displaced by the super typhoon.
Of those displaced, 20,924 families or 101,527 people are still staying in 381 evacuation centers.
Damage caused by Yolanda was estimated to P36.662 billion, including P18.336 billion in infrastructure and P18.354 billion in agriculture.
The NDRRMC said the number of destroyed houses has reached 1,140,332 including 550,928 destroyed and 589,404 damaged.
It added that total cost of government assistance for the affected families has reached P1.218 billion.
The Department of Social and Welfare Development has allocated P867 million; local government units , P116 million; the of Health Department, P177 million; and non-governmental organizations and other government organizations, P56 million. – With PNA