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Friday, October 9, 2009

News: Flooded cemetery disgorges tombs, bones

Flooded cemetery disgorges tombs, bones
By Robert Gonzaga (source)

BOTOLAN, Zambales – It was surreal and frightening sight that greeted residents here this week: Floating coffins and corpses, body parts and human bones washed ashore.

In the village cemetery of Paco, which is now littered with the ripped clothing of corpses and where the odor of rotting flesh lingers in the air, several rows of tombs lay open or submerged in floodwater.

All around the area, villagers rushed to save whatever was left of their departed relatives: clothes worn by the dead, their caskets and their bones.

Sunken tombs had gaping holes where villagers pulled the remains to save them from being swept away by rampaging floodwaters.

Since Typhoon “Kiko” dumped heavy rains and breached a major dike that flooded the town in August, residents had started worrying about the flooded cemetery.

“I went to look for my father who was buried there and did not find him. His body was one of those that got swept by the water along with many other corpses,” said Feliciano Pagar, 52.

He said he had to destroy the tombs of his brother and his child who were buried there “so I won’t lose them.”

“I opened their tombs and took their bones out of there. I had to do it, most residents were doing it, too,” he said.

Pagar said he asked local officials if the town government could pay for the transfer and burial of the remains of his relatives to another area in the cemetery.

“I don’t have the money to pay for another burial. Their remains are now in small tombs provided for those who asked for them,” he said.

Flooding in Botolan was aggravated by heavy rains spawned by tropical storm “Ondoy” and typhoon “Pepeng.”

Some of the floods were also believed brought by excess water released from dams that were connected to river systems leading to Zambales and other provinces in Central Luzon.


Kathy Taylor said...

My brother was supposed to be buried in Bagan Bagon Botelan 2yrs before this flood and I am just seeing this. Is there anyone in this town that can help me find out if his body was washeds away or safe. My email is my name is Kathy My brother was George R Taylor he was married to a Judy Quiocho