‘Yolanda’ survivors move on

We have been visiting this nameless grave.
‘Yolanda’ survivors move on

TACLOBAN CITY — Following the onslaught of super typhoon "Yolanda" nine years ago, survivors of the deadly storm has already learned to move on from the horrible experience.

One survivor — identified as Paquito Sabido — recalled how he cheated death when big waves swept away their house in the city's reclamation area, a highly populated community near the city's public market and after the storm surge, he found himself on top of debris with several bruises.

He walked to a nearby hospital alone where he met his four other injured children also seeking medical treatment. His wife, Elena, was killed by big waves.

"It was a very unforgettable experience. I was seriously injured by debris and my wife died. In the past nine years, running our small banana trading business helped me cope from the tragedy," Sabido said in an interview with online news site Philippine News Agency.

His daughter, Imee, on the other hand, said their family traditionally gathers every November 8 at the mass grave inside the Holy Cross Memorial Gardens in a spot where they believe their mother was buried by the retrieval team.

"We have been visiting this nameless grave. We don't exactly know where my mother was buried since we are still waiting for the result of DNA test. The National Bureau of Investigation has gathered samples from us last December 2013," Imee said.

The NBI earlier said the lack of funds for DNA cross-matching has hampered the process.

On Tuesday, hundreds of survivors came to the mass grave to light candles, offer flowers and eat together to mark the ninth year death anniversary. The site is dotted with white wooden crosses and some tombstones.

In the past years, some people picked a cross and wrote the names of their family members on it.

The city government suspended work in government offices and classes on Tuesday to allow the observance of the super typhoon's onslaught.

The nearby coastal towns of Palo and Tanauan which were also hit hard by storm surges also held their respective commemoration activities on the same day.

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