Friday, 22 November 2013

US retrieval team finds more bodies in Tacloban

The team that helped in the search and retrieval of victims in the World Trade Center after the Sept. 11 terror attacks in the US was among those who retrieved 84 more bodies in typhoon-devastated Tacloban City on Wednesday.

The US team, along with their French counterparts, worked under the Joint Task Force led by Senior Superintendent Pablito Corbeta.

He said the Joint Task Force had recovered a total of 1,678 bodies on the sixth day of retrieval operations.

Corbeta said the latest retrieval came mostly from the areas of Sagkahan and Anibong in Tacloban.

With the mass graves already filled, Corbeta said the task force, in coordination with the city government, is digging another burial site in Barangay Suhi, an area located in the northern part of the city.

Corbeta said they are submitting a daily update to Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II and the Office of Civil Defense (OCD).

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) had already stopped counting the dead.

As of yesterday, for still unclear reasons, the NDRRMC’s fatality figure remained at 4,011 with 18,557 injured and 1,602 missing.

The NDRRMC only said the government’s 1,526 evacuation centers are now serving 929,893 families or 4,400,697 people displaced by Super Typhoon Yolanda.

The government, meanwhile, has tapped forensic experts from the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) in the identification of casualties.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said the Interpol team, who came from various countries, would meet with the NDRRMC to get official data and statistics before flying to Tacloban this weekend.

“The team will make initial assessment to be able to formulate proposals on how to go about the DVI (disaster victim identification), given the magnitude of casualties,” De Lima said.

She added more members of the Interpol team would arrive in the next days.

De Lima explained the DVI is a tedious and thorough process which cannot be rushed.

“They said we cannot just identify cadavers based on clothing. There will come a time when all the corpses will look alike, so there will be a need to use a scientific method like DNA sampling,” De Lima said.

On the other hand, a group promoting child rights said it will provide assistance in helping recover pertinent data or records of children of families affected by the typhoon.

Airah Cadiogan, Advocacy Officer of Plan International Philippines, said their staff can help in data recovery of documents such as birth registration, especially of children.

“While we are doing assessment of the birth registration status in the country, in our own little way, apart from data recovery... we are also helping in the rehabilitation efforts being conducted by the government and several other organizations to help victims of the super typhoon,” Cadiogan said.

She explained that in almost all emergencies – armed conflicts, natural or manmade disasters and mass population displacements – children can become separated from their families or caregivers.

“Without the protection and care of their families, they are vulnerable to abuse, exploitation and recruitment into armed groups. Unregistered children are particularly at risk as there is no legal evidence of their existence, making them far harder to trace and perpetrators much more difficult to prosecute,” Cadiogan said.

Friday 22 November 2013


Post a Comment