ORMOC CITY, Leyte -- The bodies of two young siblings were found in different sites Sunday morning, September 23, a day after they were swept by flood waters from Anilao River in San Pablo village here after a heavy downpour.
Police identified the kids as Nerry Gonaro Jr., 8, and Jhonar Joseph Gonato, 9. They went swimming at the river while their mother, Jocelyn Gonato, 55, was on an errand in a nearby town that day.
Nerry was found by a villager submerged at the side of the Anilao river, face down and entangled in weeds, while the body of his elder brother, Jhonar Joseph, was found by a fisherman floating in the sea off Bantigue, a nearby village.
Police said the two were found five kilometers away from where they were last seen swimming.
Jocelyn said she left her four young children with their neighbor when she went for an errand at a nearby town.
According to residents, heavy rains on Saturday afternoon, September 22, triggered the surge of flood water but the children were oblivious of the danger as they continue to swim.
Jocelyn said her kids used to swim along with playmates at the river located at the back of their school near their house.
The mother said her kids’ playmates seem unaware of their whereabouts until she learned the next morning that the bodies had been recovered.
In the 1991 disaster, the strong, gushing floodwater that overflowed to the city's commercial area during the flashflood came from Anilao River. It claimed 4,992 lives and left more than 3,000 missing. (PNA)