Sunday, December 1, 2013

Daily grisly discoveries in Philippines continue

Korina Lopez in the Philippines: More than three weeks after Typhoon Haiyan slammed into the Philippines, rubble still blankets much of the hard-hit city of Tacloban and decomposing bodies remain trapped underneath the debris. As of Thursday, the death toll of Typhoon Haiyan victims had risen to 5,560, with 1,757 others missing.

While watching the numbers ticking upward in the media is horrific, what Philippine citizens are seeing right before their eyes is unimaginable. Tacloban City Administrator Tecson John Lim, who has been organizing much of the relief efforts, gives an account of what he sees:

On clearing the roads: Just about everything is passable, but there's a difference between a passable road and a clean road. A passable road has just enough room to get in and out. A clean road has enough room for two-way traffic, but the rubble and the bodies have yet to be cleared. About 75% of roads are cleared, although those in residential areas are untouched.

Grisly discoveries: Dogs, mostly from America, that are able to sniff out cadavers have been helpful in finding and retrieving the bodies. But we haven't been able to start searching for the bodies in collapsed houses in residential areas, and on average, we find 45 bodies a day. There are still 600 bodies that have been flagged but we haven't recovered yet....

Filipinos gather around a U.S. Navy helicopter delivering relief supplies on November 17, 2013. US Department of Defense photo

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