Children, elderly drown as flood waters swallow Tacloban evac center

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 09 2013 06:20 PM | Updated as of Nov 10 2013 02:47 AM

MANILA - The storm surge caused by typhoon "Yolanda" not only destroyed houses and establishments on its path, but also claimed the lives of still undetermined number of people in Tacloban City, one of the hardest-hit areas in Leyte.

ABS-CBN veteran broadcast journalist Ted Failon was in Tacloban when the storm surge happened on Friday morning.

From his earlier interview with the governor of Leyte, he was told that those relocated were residents living along the shoreline and whose houses are made of light materials.

"Yun mga iba siguro iniisip nila kakayanin po ng kanilang mga tahanan ang lakas ng bagyong ito hindi na po nagsilikas kaya nung dumating yung bagyo, yung pag-ragasa ng tubig, hindi nila naisip na mangyayari nga yung pagdating ng tubig na ito. Kung mabilis sa aming karanasan, nag dahan-dahan siya muna hanggang sa bumilis," recalled Failon.

From where they were hiding, Failon said the water quickly rose within 30 minutes.

"Tuloy-tuloy na ang pagtaas nito at marami nang mga ginagawang evacuation center," he said.

Failon sadly recalled his experience when he and his crew went to one of the schools which was turned into an evacuation center for children and elderly.

The school in Fisherman's Village is located at Barangay 88 in Tacloban City.

"Ito pong evacuation center na ito na-withstand niya ang lakas ng hangin dahil nandoon pa yung bubong, intact pa yung building pero hindi nakaligtas sa pagtaas ng tubig galing dagat dahil lagpas po ng building yung galing sa dagat sa kwento sa amin ng aking napanayam."

"Nakaharap ko po ang mga bangkay na ito at talaga pong kalunos-lunos ang kanilang sitwasyon...bata, matanda inabutan pa po naming bumubula ang mga bibig nang dahil po sa pagkalunod," he said.

"Inabutan po namin nagiiyakan ang mga kamag-anak dahil sila ay namatayan ng tatlo, apat, limang miyembro ng kanilang pamilya," said Failon.

An aerial shot of Tacloban also showed the flood-ravaged school and the bodies still inside some of its classrooms.

In Barangay San Jose, Failon was able to talk to a woman whom he described as zombie-like after losing her mother, father, sibling and her very own child to the floods.

"Yung daw anak niya ho nabitawan niya. Nang siya po ay aming makita, para ho siyang zombie. May sugat siyang pagkalaki-laki sa ulo, tumutulo yung dugo, may sugat sa paa, lakad ng lakad, walang tsinelas kaya ko siya napansin. Yun ang kanyang kwento, hindi niya alam kung saan siya pupunta, kung anong gagawin….doon po sa pakiramdam na naghahanap ng kamag-anak at nawalan ng anak," he said, oftentimes struggling for words to describe the situation.

Footage was also taken in the same barangay showing Failon helping carry the body of a man buried under the debris.

Failon interviewed the man's son who said that his mother still has no idea of his father's death.

Before flying to Cebu to feed the footage they took, Failon noted that still several bodies were found on the shore.

"Meron pong lumulutang sa dalampasigan maging malapit lang sa Leyte Park Hotel. Wala pa rin pong kumukuha. Sa dami po, hindi po magkanda-ugaga ang gubyerno sa laki po ng problema. Ang ibang mga bangkay naanod na po sa mga dalampasigan hanggang sa mga oras na ito wala pa pong kumukuha," he said.