MANILA - Tacloban, which bore the brunt of Super Typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) eight years ago on Monday, has moved on but will not forget those who died during the disaster, its mayor said on Sunday.
A mass celebration was held on the eve of the 8th anniversary of the calamity, in Barangay Anibong which was hit by Yolanda’s storm surge in the early hours of Nov. 8, 2013. The surge brought a a cargo vessel ashore, part of which has been turned into a memorial marker.
"I’m happy to see that after 8 years, we’ve moved on. But it’s also a realization that there are many other challenges… 'Di naman natin naisip magkakaroon tayo ng COVID-19. But from what I’ve seen, it clearly shows that a community that stands together lives forever. And I see that very much here in Tacloban City," Mayor Alfred Romualdez said after the mass.
(We did not think that the COVID-19 crisis will happen.)
"I take this day, this time to congratulate all of you and to tell you that our brothers and sisters did not die in vain. Their lives will be always remembered and it is inspiring to all of us to show them that these lessons we learned will help us continue to fight the challenges that we face in the future and today."
Yolanda, which was packing maximum sustained winds of 235 kilometers per hour and gusts of up to 275 kph when it first made landfall in Guiuan, Eastern Samar before sweeping the rest of the country's central regions westward, left some 6,300 dead, more than 1,000 missing, and over 28,000 injured in all affected areas.
Tacloban City still has "many more challenges to come, but... we’re on the right track," the mayor said.
"If we stand together, if we help our brothers and sisters, I’ve realized that after being mayor for close to 12 years… kaya tayo nagiging successful sa pagbangon ng Tacloban dahil inuuna natin kapwa natin, at hindi sarili natin," he said.
(We're successful in rebuilding Tacloban because we prioritize others, not ourselves.)
On Monday, another Mass will be held at 8:30 a.m. at the Holy Cross Memorial, while a candle lighting ceremony will be held at the Leyte Provincial Gym in the evening.
The mayor also suspended classes in all levels, public and private, and work in government offices.
Work and classes on Monday are also suspended in the towns of Palo, Tolosa, Tanauan, San Miguel, Tabon-tabon, Bato, Matalom, Hilongos and Hindang in Leyte province; and in Llorente, Eastern Samar.
Yolanda made a total of six landfalls on Nov. 8, 2013, affecting over 16 million people and displacing 5.1 million. according to the report of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.
The super typhoon destroyed 1.1 million houses, and the cost of overall damage was placed at over P95 billion, the NDRRMC said.
- with reports from Ranulfo Docdocan and Jenette Ruedas
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