'Sendong' survivors struggle to pick up pieces

By Primy Cane, ABS-CBN News Northern Mindanao

Posted at Jan 17 2012 06:44 PM | Updated as of Jan 18 2012 03:20 PM

CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines – A month after tropical storm “Sendong” devastated northern Mindanao, survivors of the calamity continue on the long road to pick up the pieces of their lives after the floods.

One of the survivors, Edwin Adelvira, continues to collect wood and scraps of metal he can use.

The floods washed away his home and his small store, which was his only source of livelihood.

“Kinukuha ko lang ang mga gamit na pu-pwede pa, tindahan namin ito,” he said.

Adelvira lived in Isla de Oro, one of the areas worst hit by last month's floods.

Police have secured the area to prevent residents from rebuilding homes in the danger zone.

Based on the latest tally of the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC), the death toll from tropical storm Sendong in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan has reached 1,490.

Nearly 2,000 were injured while cost of damage is estimated at P2 billion.

The identification of the bodies has also been a slow process.

“I'd like to inform the families of the missing persons to please find time to come to tourism hall so that we can conduct the ante-mortem data gathering,” said Dr. Tammy Uy of the National Bureau of Investigation medico legal.

Nearly 5,000 families are crammed at the tent city and are now calling for their immediate relocation.

Psycho-social interventions continue at evacuation centers.

“Actually for one month dapat, sana we would have moved on, we would have started to feel that we are in control of ourselves,” said psychiatrist Dr. Benson Go.

The scars left by Sendong are deep and will likely take many more months to heal.