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Nine years after the Yolanda disaster, Tacloban survivors are moving on.

Cebuano Cebuano English English Filipino Filipino

Super Typhoon Yolanda slammed this city nine years ago, yet the survivors who lost family members in the 2013 catastrophe have moved on from the terrible ordeal.

55-year-old Paquito Sabido recalls vividly how he narrowly avoided death when large waves swept away their home in the city’s reclamation area, a densely inhabited neighborhood next to the public market.

He was on top of rubble after the storm surge and had multiple bruises.

He traveled by himself to a local hospital where he encountered his other four damaged kids who were also looking for medical attention. Large waves claimed the life of his wife, Elena.

“It was an experience I will never forget. Debris caused significant injuries to me, and my wife passed away. Running our modest banana trading firm has helped me deal with the trauma over the past nine years, Sabido said in an interview on Tuesday.

Her 30-year-old daughter, Imee, said the family has a custom of congregating at the mass grave located inside the Holy Cross Memorial Gardens on November 8 in the area where they think their mother was interred by the retrieval team.

“We have been paying homage to this unmarked burial. Given that we are still awaiting the results of the DNA test, we are unsure of the exact location of my mother’s grave. In December 2013, the National Bureau of Investigation collected samples from us, Imee claimed.

The NBI previously claimed that the process of DNA cross-matching has been impeded by a lack of funding.

The super typhoon of 2013 claimed the life of Mary Ann Lawahan, 39, who is still mourning the passing of her one-year-old son.

“Even after nine years, I still find it difficult to accept the loss of my youngest son. I got relief from watching my three other kids grow up,” said Lawahan, whose family operates a tiny neighborhood shop in the San Jose neighborhood.

She is fortunate compared to other survivors since she knows the location of her son’s final resting place in the Holy Cross cemetery in Basper village, which has a mass grave with over 2,200 corpses.

Three weeks after the incident, the mother discovered her son’s death in the San Jose neighborhood, one kilometer from their home.

Before being moved to the mass grave in the early months of 2014, Alexander’s body was interred in an empty lot owned by their relatives.

To commemorate the ninth anniversary of their passing, hundreds of survivors descended on the mass grave on Tuesday to light candles, lay floral tributes, and share a meal.

White wooden crosses and a few tombstones can be seen scattered around the area.

In the past, some individuals would choose a cross and inscribe the names of their loved ones on it.

On Tuesday, the local government shut down all businesses and educational institutions to observe the onslaught of the super typhoon.

On the same day, the neighboring coastal towns of Palo and Tanauan, which were also severely affected by storm surges, had their separate commemorative events.

Over 2,000 people were killed when Super Typhoon Yolanda hit the Philippines. Its 315 km/h winds whipped up the sea and pushed the storm surge over low-lying coastal districts of the city.

6,300 people were officially reported dead as a result of Yolanda, 5,902 of whom were in the Eastern Visayas region.

Cebuano Cebuano English English Filipino Filipino

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