Candles lit for Yolanda victims

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SURVIVORS of Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) under the People Surge Alliance remembered their dead on All Saints’ Day by holding memorials at mass graves in the towns of Tanauan and Palo in Leyte and in Tacloban City.

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The survivors placed black candles and wooden markers bearing the message ‘Remember the victims, remember the dead, remember the injustice’ at the unmarked graves, a solemn reminder of the countless lives lost after the typhoon unleashed its fury on Central Visayas.

“I can’t begin to imagine the misery of our fellow victims whose loved ones have been left in the unmarked mass graves or those with kin who are still missing to date. We never ceased suffering from the heartless Aquino government’s abandonment as more victims continue to perish a year after Yolanda ravaged our communities,” Dr. Efleda Bautista, chairperson of People Surge, said.

The official government count of casualties stopped early this year at 6,300 deaths and more than 1,000 missing. An estimate made by forensics expert Raquel Fortun placed the deaths at around 18,000.

Some survivors who have yet to recover from the impact of Yolanda were affected by subsequent hazards. The Ocenars, a family still living in a tent city in March this year, perished when their tent caught fire. A number of typhoons, including Glenda and Mario, added to the misery of the survivors.

“We tremble with indignation over government plans to build over a massive unmarked grave in the town plaza of Tanauan and another one in the town of Palo as part of an ongoing beautification frenzy in welcoming Pope Francis. What an ungodly thing to do to score brownie points with the Pope’s visit! ” Bautista said.

“As we remember our dead on All Saints’ Day, we also solemnly vow to continue our struggle to claim justice from the Aquino government.

We have suffered too long and lost too much, but we continue to demand the accountability of our leaders as our lasting tribute to our loved ones lost to the vicious impacts of Yolanda,” she added.

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