OFW dies in Jeddah flood

By Charles Tabbu, ABS-CBN Middle East News Bureau

Posted at Jan 29 2011 06:56 PM | Updated as of Jan 30 2011 05:09 PM

SAUDI ARABIA - A Filipino overseas worker died after he was electrocuted while wading in the flood that hit Jeddah Wednesday afternoon.

Ronilo Roman Malit, 53, had spent almost half his life working in Saudi Arabia. The native of Pampanga worked as a cargo loader for 28 years but lost his life when he rushed back to their cargo warehouse to save items that might get wet from the flood.

According to his brother Nomer, Ronilo was driving back to the warehouse Wednesday noon when he was stranded by the flood at the Kandara area. He eventually decided to leave his car and walk instead.

His last call to his co-staff was around 11:40 a.m. He informed his colleague that he was walking back to the warehouse to salvage a newly purchased shoes from the Philippines that might get wet from the rising flood water.

The next call was from a friend who informed Malit’s colleague that the OFW died because he was electrocuted due to a transformer that got soaked in the water.

It took about 4 hours for his brother Nomer to reach him because of the flood. Authorities retrieved the body around 9:00 p.m.

“I am so helpless that moment. I cannot help even to transport the remains of my brother due to the traffic caused by the flood,” Nomer said. “I was not even allowed to touch my brother,” he added.

Nomer described Ronilo as a good man and a good provider to their relatives back in the Philippines.

“He was able to send our relatives to college. Some already finished their degrees and some are still in college,” said Nomer.

Nomer said he already lost a brother in a flood when typhoon Ondoy hit the Philippines.

“Now, I lost another brother from a flood again here in Saudi Arabia. It is so painful to lose my loving brothers,” he said.

Worse, Nomer said they did not recover his brother’s wallet.

“He usually has cash with him from collections from customers sending cargos. Whoever found it, please return it. We need every piece of support at this moment. His [meager] salary from being a cargo loader supports his family back home,” said Nomer.

“We need assistance for my brother’s remain to be repatriated to the Philippines as soon as possible,“ said Nomer.

A friend who knew Ronilo for a long time was surprised to learn about the sad news.

“He is a very good friend. He helped people. Until now, I can’t believe that he’s gone,” said his friend, Redendor Bual.

Meanwhile, Consul Tito Ausan of the Philippine Consulate General in Jeddah assured the Malit family of assistance.

Ronilo's body is still at the King Abdulaziz Hospital.