Bodies of victims of Typhoon Fengshen appear on Philippine shores

Thursday, June 26, 2008

As the National Disaster Coordinating Agency continues to evaluate the reports coming from regions all over the Philippines, bodies of those who drowned or perished while at sea have started to float into the shores of islands in Central Philippines. On Thursday, the Philippines Coast Guard reported that villagers recovered 124 bodies whose identities are still uncertain.

Advanced decomposition has made identification difficult for authorities and, fearing a health epidemic, all of the bodies were immediately buried in makeshift graves.

The identification of the victims has caused a stir among relatives looking for their missing family members, as forensic investigators were rendered helpless in proceeding to the scattered locations where bodies have been washing ashore.

Over 100 divers from the combined Philippines and United States naval forces have been working overtime to retrieve the bodies of passengers trapped inside the capsized MV Princess of the Stars.

Disaster management officials in the country announced that the dead from the weekend battering from Typhoon Fengshen could reach to a high of 1,300 people nation-wide. State officials reported that some 2.4 million Filipinos were affected by the disaster, putting property damage at a conservative estimate of $125 million.

Relatives of missing passengers were finally brought near the site where the ferry capsized. On board a tug boat, relatives became severely emotional after a Roman Catholic mass was celebrated to commemorate the memory of those lost at sea.