THE bodies of four people buried by rain-induced landslides in Tacloban City's Quarry district were retrieved Monday night, January 15.
The two-day retrieval operation concluded around 6 p.m. Monday after the recovery of the last two bodies buried by collapsed wall and landslide debris on Saturday night.
The last body retrieved was that of Alejandro Mayolargo. Minutes earlier, the rescuers also unearthed the body of his common-law wife, Sherry Jane Amancio, the village secretary. Surviving children identified the two fatalities.
On Monday noon, the team retrieved the body of Amancio’s daughter, Zoe Hernandez. The body of Delia Carson, the head of village watchmen, was the first to be recovered pre-dawn on January 14.
The team temporarily stopped the on Sunday night, as tail end of a cold front dumped heavy rains in Tacloban.
The Tacloban City Government lauded the members of the rescue team who helped in the retrieval operations.
City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Officials (CDRRMO) Chief Ildebrando Bernadas and Vice Mayor Jerry Yaokasain appreciated the determination of the team members to retrieve those who perished despite the bad weather.
“You never give up until the last body is found because in Tacloban, we always make sure that no one will be left behind,” Yaokasin said.
Retrieval teams that helped in the two-day operations include personnel from the city rescue units, City Engineer's Office, traffic operation management and enforcement control office, Bureau of Fire Protection, Army engineering battalion, business chamber fire rescue unit, Delta Green Rescue, Delta Orange Rescue, UNTV Rescue Group, and radio communication groups.
“We are thankful that we have this team in this time of emergency. We continue with our objective as emergency responders and volunteers. This is our extreme manifestation of our volunteerism,” Bernadas said.
He added that the incident should serve as a lesson among the city’s residents and officials to intensify preparedness and be more proactive.
“People in danger zones should not wait for authorities to order forced evacuation if they are aware that their area is prone to landslide and flooding during heavy downpour,” he said.
The CDRRMO and City Engineer’s Office will conduct re-assessment of some areas in the city to update the list of specific places classified as danger zone.
“If found that they are in danger zones, they will be forcibly evacuated and will bring them to evacuation centers during heavy rains and typhoons. We will try to provide them permanent housing for their safety,” Bernadas said. (PNA)