TACLOBAN CITY- Close to eight months after the Super typhoon Yolanda ravaged this city and parts of Eastern Visayas, the “official” death toll due to massive typhoon has yet to be know
Thus said assistant regional Rey Gozon of the Office of Civil Defense who said that they still receives reports of bones, purportedly from the fatalities, being discovered.
All the bones collected, at least in Tacloban, are deposited in Barangay Suhi and eventually buried at the Holy Cross Cemetery on Barangay Tigbao, this city.
“We cannot give the official number of deaths because up to this time, we still receive reports of (bones) recovered,” Gozon, in a phone interview, said.
The OCD had earlier placed the number of deaths in Eastern Visayas due to Yolanda at 5,883 people. And of this number, 2,678 were from Tacloban alone, considered the ground zero of the super typhoon.
Gozon said that they did not imposed deadline as to when they will give the “official” death toll due to Yolanda.
Fire Inspector Anthony de Paz, operations chief of the regional office of the Bureau of Fire Protection based in Tacloban, said that they still receive reports of bones being discovered in the villages.
The latest report they received was bones discovered at Villa Cinco on Barangay 87, San Jose District, among the worst-hit areas in Tacloban.
The bones were retrieved on June 26 by their team which is also composed of personnel from the Department of Public Works and Highways.
With the discovery of these bones of a person believed to have died due to Yolanda, the number of persons died in Tacloban has now reached to 2,691 which is now higher compare to the 2,678 records of the OCD.
de Paz said that unlike in the first few months after Tacloban was pummeled by Yolanda on November 8,2013, where they go to the villages to retrieve dead bodies, they now rely on information from the villagers.
Since January, the BFP, which led the task force on retrieval operations, stopped going to the villages to recover dead bodies.
“We just rely on phone calls and when we receive such information, we go to the barangay to recover the fragments of the person (believed to have died due to Yolanda),”de Paz said.
The BFP started their cadaver collection in Tacloban hours after Yolanda ended her fury that resulted to the destruction of properties and structures that drastically changed the city’s landscape
Meantime, the NBI continues its ante-mortem activity at the Balyuan Convention, this city, for relatives of those killed but whose identities were not known.
The NBI has earlier processed 2,255 dead bodies now buried at the Holy Cross Cemetery.
The ante-mortem, started on May 19, is to end on July 12.
DNA samples are being taken from the relatives of those who perished to be matched to help determine the identities of those unknown fatalities.