Relief workers killed in Bicol bus accident


A van carrying church volunteers returning home from Christmas relief operations in typhoon ravaged areas in the Visayas collided head on with a passenger bus on Sunday, killing six, police said.

Four members of the Calamba Pastor Alliance and their driver were killed instantly in the pre-dawn accident. The driver of the bus also died.

Four others were injured and recuperating in hospital after the collision on Maharlika Highway in Sorsogon province, the police said.

The police statement did not say whether the bus was carrying any passengers at the time of the accident.

Police investigator Jose Distacamento said the group was on its way home to its ministry in Calamba town after completing a relief mission in the typhoon-hit city of Tacloban in the province of Leyte.

“Witnesses said the van was speeding along the highway and did not see the bus,” he told local television.

Super Typhoon Yolanda devastated the central Philippines last month, triggering tsunami-like giant waves that left at least 6,155 dead and over 1,700 officially missing.

Tacloban City was among the worst-hit areas, accounting for many of the deaths.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said that 5,757 of the victims came from Eastern Visayas, which was hit the hardest.

The agency added that 294 of the fatalities came from Western Visayas, 74 from Central Visayas, 19 from the Bicol region, six from Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan), three from Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon provinces), and one each from Zamboanga Peninsula and Caraga.

The number of injured people also rose to 28,626 while 1,785 people were declared missing.

At least 3.42 million families or 16.07 million people in 12,139 villages in 44 provinces were affected, while 890,895 families or 4.09 million people were displaced.

Damage caused by Yolanda was estimated at P36.66 billion.

So far, government assistance to the affected families has reached P1.218 billion.


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