78 dead in devastated Marikina

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 28 2009 12:47 PM | Updated as of Sep 29 2009 08:32 AM

MANILA - Mang Emilio could not stop crying as he surveyed what remained of his home in Provident Village in Marikina City.

"Walang natira sa lahat ng aking pinaghirapan (Everything I've worked for is gone)," he told ABS-CBN's Sol Aragones. He said he barely had time to escape to the roof of his home when the flood hit the village on Saturday.

He said, however, that he is thankful that he was able to bring his two in-laws to the roof before they got carried away by the flood.

Another Marikina resident, Bartolome Robias, also could not stop crying as he searched for his mother in an evacuation center and among the corpses that had been retrieved from Provident.

Robias said he last saw his mother, Leticia, when she went to Provident last Friday to iron clothes for some of the residents. Fearing that she was affected by the flood that devastated the area, Robias went to the village early Monday to see if she had been rescued.

Hours later, he finally received a call from his brother who said that Leticia had finally come home to their house in Antipolo.

Two days after tropical storm Ondoy brought the worst floods in Metro Manila, life has yet to return to normal for many residents of Marikina City. In a little over six hours, hundreds of lives were changed as the floods swept away houses, vehicles and people in the city.

One of the worst hit areas in the city was Provident Villages where most of the residents climbed on rooftops to escape the deluge. Unofficial figures received by ABS-CBN News said as many 58 people were killed in Provident and a total of 78 dead in the whole of Marikina.

Scores of overturned vehicles on mud-streaked streets paint a picture of the devastation wrought by the flood. Power lines in the area are still streaked with debris, which showed how high the flood reached on Saturday morning.

On Monday, Marikina Mayor Marides Fernando appealed for more food, water and blankets for residents staying in evacuation centers. She also appealed for more volunteers to help in the  task of clearing the roads of debris and retrieving bodies in various parts of the city.

Some residents of Provident Villages have returned to their homes to clean up and guard their houses from looters. Others also lined up at a local market to buy food and get their first meal after two days.

One rescuer, Manuel, however said it will be a long time before everything returns to normal in Marikina.

"We found one corpse, a man. His hand was still clutching to a tree but his whole body was submerged in mud," he said.

He added: "We weren't hit by the flood so we came here to help. This is something that will affect us for a long time to come." With a report from Sol Aragones, ABS-CBN News