Updated: 12/28/2013 21:18 | By Agence France-Presse

Hundreds of corpses unburied after Philippine typhoon

More than a thousand dead victims of Super Typhoon Haiyan lay unburied Saturday, seven weeks after the region was battered by the Philippines' deadliest storm, residents living alongside the stench said.


Hundreds of corpses unburied after Philippine typhoon

The bodies of five victims of Typhoon Haiyan lie in front of a damaged house in Tanauan, on November 20, 2013

About 1,400 corpses, in sealed black body bags swarming with flies, lay on a muddy open field in San Isidro, a farming village on the outskirts of the destroyed central city of Tacloban, an AFP reporter saw.

"The stench has taken away our appetite. Even in our sleep, we have to wear face masks," said local housewife Maritess Pedrosa, who lives in a house about 20 metres (66 feet) from the roadside city government property.

Haiyan killed 6,111 people and left 1,779 others missing on November 8, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

This made the storm, which also left 4.4 million people homeless, one of the deadliest natural disasters in Philippine history.

Tacloban and nearby towns were devastated by tsunami-like giant waves unleashed by Haiyan which accounted for a majority of the dead.

The council's spokesman, Reynaldo Balido, said he was unsure if the official death toll already included the cadavers in San Isidro.

Eutiquio Balunan, the local village chief, said government workers assigned to collect the typhoon dead began trucking them to San Isidro on November 10, where they have been exposed to the tropical heat and heavy seasonal rainshowers.

There, state forensics experts try to identify the corpses, he told AFP.

The processed corpses are then turned over to relatives, while those that are unclaimed are tagged and taken to a mass grave at the city cemetery about three kilometres (1.86 miles) away.

"Our tally comprises those already tagged and processed by the local governments," Balido, the disaster council spokesman, told AFP.

Balunan, the village chief, said the processing of the cadavers had been suspended over the Christmas weekend as the forensics experts went on holiday.

"We are requesting the city government to please bury the cadavers because our children and elderly residents are getting sick," he said.

"This place has become a fly factory."

The cadavers are guarded by eight policemen. One officer who asked not to be named said they are under orders to prevent the cadavers from being eaten by stray dogs.

Latest Photo Galleries on xinmsn

NEWS VIDEOS

MORE NEWS VIDEOS

facebook recommendations

LIVE NEWS RADIO STREAMING

  • 938 Live

    938LIVE is Singapore's only English news and talk station which transmits round the clock with an engaging and enticing spread of programmes on current affairs, health, business and lifestyle as well as news every half hour until midnight.

  • Capital 958


    95.8FM城市频道的前身是"第三广播网"。上个世纪30年代末,新加坡就有中文广播,一路走来经过不少政治,社会局势的改变,中文广播在本地一直扮演举足轻重的角色。